Respiratory & Chest Diseases In Winter
Respiratory & Chest Diseases In Winter
Winters bring pleasant weather and festive season but also bring a wide spectrum of respiratory and chest diseases. As the winters begin, the cold winds penetrate our warm bodies, many people become prone to mild and severe chest diseases.
These diseases can vary from being mere allergies to severe problems resulting in a fatality. Whatever is the extremity of the condition; the person should take immediate action and consult a physician.
Following are a few common chest diseases of winter:
Common cold: There more than two hundred types of viruses responsible for a common cold. It is contagious and can be transmitted through air, or infected surfaces. The best ways to invite common cold is touching your nose, eyes, mouth or sensitive areas with the hands that have touched some infected surface. The primary symptoms of common cold are a runny nose, sore or strep throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, and fever.
Bronchitis: Bronchitis is caused by inflammation within the respiratory passages leading air to the lung. The reason for such inflammation can be filling with mucus in some of those passages. This condition prevents fresh air to smoothly pass through the passages, resulting in wheezing, short and shallow breath and retractions. Sometimes the area around the nostrils may also sink inwards while breathing.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia cannot be diagnosed without detailed imaging such as an X-ray. The alveoli or small oxygen absorbing pockets in the lungs are filled with fluid due to some bacterial infection causing fever, constant coughing, limited appetite and episodes of retractions.
Sinusitis: Common cold is sometimes followed by sinusitis. The infections when getting severe, irritate the inner membranes of the nasal passage and cause them to swell. The swollen sinus is not able to properly discharge mucus, worsening the problem.
Flu: Flu is also known as influenza is a severe kind of common cold. The body becomes the achy, runny nose, nasal congestion, and fatigue and chest pain.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus: RSV can lead to long term illness of bronchitis and pneumonia, mostly in infants and children. The illness can cause severe chest pain.
Whooping Cough: While coughing, when it makes a heavy whooping sound. The same heavy sound is also there when the affected person inhales and exhales air. There is mostly a coughing fit and usually affects children.
Croup: This cough lasts for a couple of weeks and the sound is similar to bark. It is more prevalent in children an can cause pain in the chest due to rough coughing.
- Avoid exposure to extreme weather conditions.
- Keep your body covered and wear proper adequate clothing for winters.
- Avoid polluted areas as fog mixed with smoke i.e smog is extremely dangerous for the respiratory tract and can lead many serious ailments.
- Maintain proper hygiene, take bath regularly and wash your hands properly before every meal.
- Eat freshly prepared food only and avoid refrigerated or stale foods.
- Remain hydrated and take plenty of fluids if the form of warm water, fresh juices, soups, tea & other beverages etc.
- Avoid direct contact like touching hands, hugging etc. with people who are infected with a common cold or other respiratory diseases.
- Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, preferably with a tissue which should be discarded after use.
- Avoid smoking and also prevent yourself from indirect second-hand exposure to smoking.
- Usually, no specific treatment is available but supportive & symptomatic treatment is done as the infection is controlled by the body immune system only.
- Multivitamins can be taken to boost the immune system. Also, there is a definite role of Vitamin C supplementation, either by medications or natural foods rich in vitamin C like lemon, Guava etc.
- Antipyretics and antihistaminics are given for symptomatic relief of fever, body aches, and running nose. In addition, some nasal decongestants are also recommended.
- Steam inhalation is a good measure to open up the blocked respiratory tract and sinuses.
- Other Home remedies like ginger, honey, Tulsi and green tea etc. are also helpful.
- Breathing exercises are recommended if there is dyspnoea or in patients with some pre-existing respiratory diseases.
- The flu vaccine is also available in the market which is recommended mainly in high-risk prone professionals and is helpful only if taken in advance. also, the strain of the virus keeps mutating rapidly so one vaccine may not be helpful in all diseases.