Winter season is finally here, and a sudden dip in temperature is followed by common respiratory ailments. During the cold season, people stay indoors more and the close environment means that respiratory illness spreads more effectively. However, you can minimize the risk of such illness by taking essential precautions. While in case the respiratory disorder prolongs, it would be essential to visit the best Pulmonology Hospital for an effective treatment since a severe case of lung disorder or other such related problem can be fatal.
Before we go into the details of the precautionary measures to prevent respiratory related diseases, let’s have an overview of the different type of respiratory illness that can occur in winter.
Common Winter Respiratory Illnesses
Common Cold - Common cold can be caused by different viruses. It is communicable and spreads from person-to-person through the air or by contact with surfaces where germs reside. Its symptoms include; a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, mild dry cough, and fever.
Pneumonia - Pneumonia is a viral or bacterial infection due to which the air pockets in the lungs known as alveoli becomes inflamed and gets filled with fluid causing the exchange of oxygen to be inhibited. Fever, cough, low appetite, rapid breathing, retractions and flaring are some of its symptoms.
Whooping Cough - Whooping Cough derives its name from the whooping sound that an affected person makes when inhaling deeply following a coughing fit. Doctors suggest that infants under one-year of age need to be hospitalized for treatment of whooping cough in one of the top hospitals in Hyderabad.
Influenza or Flu - Influenza has somewhat similar symptoms to common cold. For instance, nasal congestion, fever with chills, body aches, a feeling of exhaustion, stomach ache and vomiting, etc.
Sinusitis - Sinusitis involves nasal swelling and a buildup of mucus. Some of the medical conditions which may increase a person’s risk of developing sinusitis are previous respiratory tract infections, small growths in the nasal passage that can lead to inflammation. And, the symptoms of Sinusitis include fever, tiredness, toothache, headache and others. In case, the symptoms continue for 12 weeks or longer, the doctor may diagnose chronic sinusitis.
Bronchitis - Bronchitis occurs when the bronchioles are inflamed and make too much mucus. Symptoms of acute bronchitis may include body aches and chills, shortness of breath, wheezing or a whistling sound when you breathe, sore throat and others. Due to chronic bronchitis, your cough may last for at least 3 months.
All of the above mentioned medical conditions can make you feel uncomfortable and if becomes severe can be quite challenging to deal with. So, you must follow precautions against respiratory diseases particularly in the winter season when you are more susceptible to such medical disorders.
What are Respiratory Precautions?
As discussed above, in the winter season, catching a common cold and other respiratory illness such as flu, sinusitis, pneumonia, etc. is very frequent. However, by following a few important tips you can minimize the risk of winter respiratory illness and possibly even prevent it. And, all the preventive measures taken to curb the risk of respiratory illness are referred to as Respiratory Precaution measures.
What are the 10 standard precautions?
- Cover your nose and mouth properly with a scarf - As you step out, wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth. Doing this can effectively help prevent the symptoms associated with cold, dry air.
- Try to breathe in through your nose and out from your mouth - Increased mouth inhalation brings the irritating cold, dry air straight to your lungs. But your nose has blood vessels that warm and humidify the air before it gets into your lungs.
- Keep quick-relief medication ready - It can be very helpful to have quick-relief medicine nearby, in case you begin to display respiratory disorders.
- Check the weather forecast - Being prepared while going out is a great way to prevent respiratory symptoms. So, check the weather forecast. And, accordingly make your choice to move out of the house.
- Wash your hands frequently - Harmful germs may spread through mucous membranes in your eyes, nose and mouth. Therefore, do not forget to keep your hands clean and wash it frequently.
- Dress warmly and keep yourself dry - Make sure you dress season appropriate. Since, being exposed to the chilled weather can lead to respiratory illness.
- Be cautious about wood-burning fireplaces - Even though fireplaces may seem like a great way to warm up, the smoke and fumes from fireplaces can be irritating if you have asthma, allergies and other lung diseases.
- Stick to the medication as prescribed - If you have a respiratory condition, you must take the medication as prescribed, particularly in the winter months when you are more prone to respiratory illness.
- Always keep your inhaler with you if you have asthma or COPD - As soon as you feel trouble in breathing, you must immediately use your inhaler without failure for instant relief. Therefore, it is better to always keep an inhaler with you.
- Avoid performing outdoor exercise in the cold - If you are suffering from any type of respiratory problems, then outdoor exercise in severe cold weather can really hurt and damage your lungs. Since, breathing and heart rate increases during strenuous exercise and people tend to inhale through their mouth, which brings on irritation and swelling.
To minimize the risk of any type of respiratory disorders occurring during the winter season, you must follow all the precautions for respiratory diseases as mentioned above in the article.