• 21 NOV 18
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    Change of Weather: Common Health Problems and Treatments

    Change of Weather: Common Health Problems and Treatments

    Many health-related issues happen because of the changes in the weather. Especially the cold weather is associated with risks for heart attack. During cold weather, the blood pressure increases due to the concentration of the blood flow in the core of the body and puts the heart under a lot of strain. According to a study deaths due to heart attack and stroke were higher by 14% from December 2015 to March 2016. Ways to keep the heart healthy during the cold season is to wear thick socks, gloves and hats, avoiding alcohol, washing hands properly and spending more time inside.

    Joint pain: Many people can have joint pain in the cold weather especially in load bearing joints such as the knees, hips and ankles.

    Causes: People are more likely to have joint pain during the cold weather because of the diversion of blood flow to the core that causes the blood vessels to constrict and less blood flow makes those areas colder and stiffer that causes a lot of discomfort and pain.

    Prevention: Steps to relieve achy joints are eating healthy foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Food like spinach, kale and cabbage should be eaten as they have pain-soothing properties. Green vegetables should be eaten.

    Asthma: Asthma attacks happen usually in the winters.

    Causes: This happens because when people go out they could have asthma attacks from inhaling the cold air; a cold virus can cause asthma.

    Prevention: Steps should be taken to prevent asthma in the winter like staying indoors when the temperature is really low, avoiding anyone who is sick, getting the flu vaccine early, keeping the house clean by dusting and vacuum to eradicate indoor allergens.

    Dry skin: Dry skin can also happen because of cold weather.

    Causes: since the humidity level drops outside and the outside air is dry and cold so the water that is in the skin evaporates and makes the skin feel tight and dry. The skin loses more than 25% of its ability to hold moisture in the winter season.

    Prevention: Ways to get rid of dry skin is to wear proper clothing that includes gloves and scarfs. Applying rich moisturizing lotions that have ingredients like glycerin can reduce the chances of dry skin.

    Norovirus: This disease occurs a lot during winters, it is an infection that is characterized by nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

    Causes: Norovirus can spread from person to person and can indirectly occur from having contaminated water and food.

    Prevention: Ways to prevent and cure Norovirus is by washing hands with soap, drinking a lot of water, keeping the house clean and maintaining good personal hygiene.

    A cough and cold: These commonly occur during winter months.

    Causes: It occurs when people don’t wear proper clothing and eat or drink cold stuff like ice cream and cold drinks. People also catch a cold when they stay in cold temperature for longer. A cough and cold when not cured can lead to fever at times.

    Prevention:  Steps to be taken to avoid a cough and cold are to wear proper clothing, have warm fluids and food, staying indoors in warmer places.

    Raynaud’s phenomenon: It is a condition which becomes very painful in cold weather that makes a person’s fingers and toes change colour.

    Causes: The blood flow is decreased to the hands and feet, fingers can become white, blue and then red. Women are more affected by Raynaud’s diseases than men. There are 2 main types of the condition

    1. Primary Raynaud’s- It is very mild that many people don’t go to the doctor and it gets cured on its own
    2. Secondary Raynaud’s- It is more serious than primary Raynaud’s and causes of secondary Raynaud’s are Connective tissue diseases, diseases of arteries, carpal tunnel syndrome, smoking, injuries to the hand and feet.


    Prevention: Ways to prevent Raynaud’s condition is to wear proper clothing in winters like a hat, scarf, socks, gloves and boots. Stop the cold air from reaching the hands, keep your car warm and use insulated drinking glasses.

    Flu: It is a respiratory illness that occurs in the winter months, it is also known as influenza. Pregnant women, young children, senior citizens and people who have a weak immune system are usually affected by the flu. Symptoms of flu are fever, cough, headaches, running nose and fatigue.

    Causes: It spreads by a cough and sneezes of a person, it is highly contagious.

    Prevention: Ways to prevent influenza is to get an annual flu vaccine, anyone above 6 months or older can get an annual flu vaccine.

    Bronchiolitis:  is a viral respiratory function affecting kids; children who are less than 12 months are more likely to be affected by the illness. Nasal congestion, fevers and congestion are some of the symptoms.

    Causes: RSV is a virus that mostly causes Bronchiolitis; other viruses can also cause the illness. It begins with a common cold and can become worse with wheezing, dehydration and difficulty in breathing.

    Prevention: Ways to prevent Bronchiolitis is to wash hands, keeping children away from people who are already affected by a cough and cold, keeping the environment clean and breastfeeding if it is possible.

    Pneumonia: This is a type of lung infection occurs during the winter season.

    Causes: It occurs because of bacterial, fungal or viral infection. It begins as a cold and then symptoms worsen. Some symptoms of pneumonia include chest pain while breathing or coughing, fatigue, shaking chills, sweating and fever. Pneumonia is a very common infection that occurs during the winters.  A doctor should be consulted when there are problems like difficulty in breathing, pain in the chest, persistent cough and high fever. It is very important for the elderly who are aged above 65 and children younger than the age of 2 to consult a doctor because they are in the high-risk group.

    Prevention: Steps to prevent pneumonia is to quit smoking, getting proper sleep, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and washing hands especially after using the washroom and before eating.

    Changes in the weather can cause a lot of illness however people can still stay healthy and avoid problems by eating healthy food, leading an active lifestyle and wearing proper clothing according to the weather.

    Have a Happy and Healthy Winter!!!

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