Winter is always a cool respite from the scorching days and a perfect escape from the sweltering summer.
But the few weeks of cool breeze and misty mornings are equally unfavourable if sufficient care is not taken in terms of health and safety, say experts.
When the temperature dips, they say it’s better to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid going outside.
Performing any type of strenuous activities can put the lungs at risk of exposure to dry air and cause a flare up of symptoms.
Oman has reported an increasing number of cases of cough and influenza.
“In winters there is always a surge in respiratory diseases both upper respiratory tract infection like the common cold (influenza) which usually affects pharynx, larynx and vocal cords, and also lower respiratory tract causing inflammation and infection of trachea, bronchus, lungs, causing bronchitis and pneumonia in lungs,” says Dr Dilip Singhvi, Specialist in Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospital.
Excessive exposure to cold air causes narrowing of the tract thereby increasing asthma attacks, exacerbations of chronic lung disease (COPD) and the like.
“Cold air is often dry air, and can irritate the airways if you have asthma, COPD or bronchitis. This can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Dress warmly and keep yourself dry. It is better to cover the nose and mouth with scarf in low temperatures,” says Dr Viresh Chopra of Oman Dental College.
Additionally, in winters there is more exposure to moulds, pollution, smog, which are all capable to triggering acute asthmatic attacks.
However, certain set of precautions can help get rid of the uneasiness of winters the first of which is to cover mouth and nose in order to restrict direct cold air entering into the respiratory tract.
People falling in the target group are advised to take influenza vaccine every year before the start of winters.
Also, one should make it a point to wear warm clothes and not to forget his regular medication if he has asthma or chronic lung disease at the earliest, according to Dr Singhvi
And for smokers, they have an unpleasant news that they ought to quit smoking as it can trigger chest infection. Hence, quitting is the best option if at all they prefer to lead a healthy life.
“These are measures we can take to help reduce risk of developing chest infections and stop them spreading to others,” adds Dr Chopra.