Beat the weather woes

April 27, 2021

Cough, cold and fever are common health problems associated with seasonal changes. Dr Deepak Verma shares tips that can help

With the change in season and increase in temperature, many are complaining of sore throat, cough and cold. Those who have a rougher patch are also suffering from fever and flu-like symptoms. Living in the shadow of COVID-19, many are scared if this is normal or if this is going to make them catch the pandemic virus more easily than others.

Cough and cold as well as feeling feverish are common health problems associated with seasonal changes — especially when summer follows winter. This is because as the temperature increases, pathogens — viruses and bacteria causing these diseases — become more active. The warm air is light, unlike winter air that is cold and sits heavy, helps in carrying pollen and dander that cause allergic reactions. This increases the chance of sneezing and coughing in people who are susceptible to allergic conditions.

According to research, most adults suffer from cold two-four times a year while children suffer five to seven times.  Every change in season sees up to 200 pathogens in the air that may cause a range of symptoms such as watery eyes, sore throat, sneezing, and mucus draining from nose into throat, fever, and muscle ache. The most common virus is human rhinovirus (HRV) that causes up to 40 per cent of all colds and allergic reactions like rhinitis.

Prevention of seasonal diseases:

As it is often said, prevention is better than cure. Work towards building immunity in consultation with your doctor. Following are a few tips that can help to prevent seasonal diseases:

  • Practice good hygiene as viruses like rhinovirus survive for 3 hours outside the body. On frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs or switches, it can stay up to 48 hours. Wash your hands after touching any such surface and avoid touching your face. Use a face mask outdoors.
  • Massage your throat with hot water and a pinch of salt into it as a cure to sore throat.
  • Drinking hot beverages such as lukewarm water but avoid coffee and tea as they can add sugar into your diet.
  • Make a concoction of turmeric powder, ginger powder and a teaspoon of honey to warm water. It helps curing cold and cough, relieves body ache and headache.
  • Add eucalyptus oil to the hot water and inhale the steam inhalation to clear congestion in the nasal passage. Add a few drops to your lukewarm bath water to recover from body pain.
  • Add a few tulsi leaves, crushed ginger, and black pepper in your tea for relief from cough and cold.
  • Make sure you are doing moderate exercise every day.
  • Do not miss your daily dose of vitamin-D, get out in the sun for 15 minutes a day.
  • Sleep is an integral part of wellness — ensure eight hours of sleep at night for better immunity.

Apart from this, one should take balance diet with adequate intake of water along with food items which are rich in vitamin C so that they can fight with health conditions that happen because of weather change. As we are approaching towards summer season, the chances of dehydration also increase in kids especially infants if fluids aren't given adequately with such illness.

There is a subset of children, who are quite sensitive to changing weather conditions. These are those children who have the family history of asthma. These children should adhere to the guidelines of regular hand washing, social distancing and wearing mask.

The writer is Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.

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