6 Popular health problems in winter

health problems in winter

Every season brings with it some health risks but in winter, the risks increase slightly. You must take care of your health throughout the year but it needed to be more cautious in winter.

People face different health issues in winter due to the frigid and dry air, less duration of sunlight, and low humidity levels in the air.

However, we love a lot of things about winter like cozy nights, warm clothes, delicious food, lying on blankets and reading books, snowflakes, warm beverages but also health problems in winter cannot be ignored.

Here we’ll discuss some winter health concerns along with some tips to stay away from these problems.

6 Common health problems in winter

Flu

Influenza commonly referred to as ‘flu’ is a respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B virus. These diseases often appear in winters and early spring.

The virus spreads through the respiratory tract and attacks the body. The flu could be mild or severe, but if it gets worse, it can make you shiver at the thought of getting out of bed.

Due to the flu, you’re likely to have a high fever, body aches, and fatigue. As we’ve already discussed in our previous article Coronavirus disease COVID-19 that all the ribonucleic acid viruses keep changing over time and a new variant of influenza virus, which is also an RNA virus evolves every year.

Flu is a contagious disease and in winters it spreads very easily and quickly from one person to the other.

How to treat flu

If you have flu, try to keep yourself away from others. Avoid visiting public places to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Frequent and thorough hand hygiene is an important way to avoid the growth of the influenza virus.

See a doctor if the flu gets worse. Avoid cold air and take proper rest.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

One of the major causes of depression in cold weather is a lack of physical activities. Usually, people are confined to their homes and limit outdoor pursuits which slow down blood circulation and leads to depressive symptoms in the brain.

Being inactive makes people lazy as well as languid and they spend the whole day in idle thoughts. Another reason is that the days are shorter in winter and people with Seasonal Affective Disorder need bright light to refresh their mood. Less exposure to sunlight leads to a feeling of sadness.

How to treat SAD

Try as much as you can to keep yourself active, don’t incarcerate yourself to closed rooms. Take all possible measures to avoid cold.

Wear layers, jackets, gloves, earmuffs and engage yourself in physical pursuits, whether indoors or outdoors.

For people with SAD, Light Therapy (phototherapy) is the best way to lighten up their mood. This is a treatment in which a source of artificial light helps to decrease the production of melatonin hormone (sleep hormone) in the brain and stimulates the serotonin hormone that allows brain cells to communicate with each other and boosts up mood.

Common Cold

The common cold is usual in winter and can affect anyone from little kids to adults. Although, the common cold is caused by more than 100 viruses rhinovirus is the leading cause.

Like coronavirus, this virus spreads quickly and easily from one person to another. Normally, adults get an average of 3-5 colds per year whereas children get an average of 10 colds.

People with the common cold have symptoms like headache, body aches, runny nose, cough, sneezes, watery eyes, etc.

The symptoms of flu and cold are similar but cold is relatively less harmful and can be cured easily within a few days.

How to treat common cold

The most important thing is to keep your hands sanitized as hands are the main source of germs entering the body.

Give your body as much rest as possible, so that your energy is restored and you can recover faster.

Take warm liquids to keep yourself hydrated, also it removes nasal congestion.

It’s better not to resort to over-the-counter (OTC) medications unless quite necessary and treat the common cold with home remedies, as these medications may be effective but can also have side effects.

Dry Skin

As the humidity is significantly reduced in winter, our skin can’t retain moisture and it dries out. The skin begins to look flaky because cold air and less humidity levels dry up the natural oil produced by the skin.

The stratum corneum is an outer layer that retains water in our skin. This layer acts as a basic barrier between our body and environmental conditions.

But in winter when humidity levels go down, water gets out of this barrier through evaporation which causes peeling of skin over a large area of the body that’s called exfoliative dermatitis.

How to treat dry skin

Many people apply different alcohols and fragrances that would help to keep their skin moisturized in winter, but these ingredients might be proved irritating to sensitive skins.

So it’s better just to use a gentle cleanser with a moisturizer at night or apply sunscreen in the morning.

Oil containing vitamin E may also help retain the moisture but it may not be a good choice for people with very dry skin.

To avoid dry skin, soap should be used sparingly and perfumed soaps should be avoided altogether. In addition, people usually take showers with very hot water in winter which also dries out the skin.

Because heat can disorganize the functions of the stratum corneum that keeps our body moisturized. So take shower with a cold water.

Apply a moisturizer or a thick cream immediately after bathing for better results. And rather than rubbing the skin, it’s better to pat it gently.

Sore Throat

Although, the cold weather has nothing to do with viruses as we spend most of our time indoors and very close to each other which causes the viruses to spread more easily.

Sore throat is not a case of a concern, it’s a common problem in winter. According to doctors, dehydration also causes sore throat.

In winter, when we breathe, dry air enters our body which dries out the throat tissues and causes sore throat.

How to treat a sore throat

Drinking a large amount of water can solve this problem to a great extent. Warm water with lemon and herbal tea is very effective for sore throat.

Rest your throat until it gets completely healed. Use a humidifier at home and workplaces because it may help soothe a sore throat by increasing moisture in the air.

There is no need to see a doctor when you have a sore throat but if the symptoms start getting worse then it’s necessary to consult a medical professional.

Joint Pain

Another drawback of staying inactive in cold weather is weight gain. Being motionless all the time increases weight which puts all the stress on feeble joints, especially the knees.

Besides that, spending more time indoors doesn’t allow us to get enough sunlight which causes tingling in our joints and muscles which leads to discomfort.

How to treat joint pain

Try best to avoid frigid air, cover yourself well, and if possible spend a few hours a day in the sunlight.

Don’t let yourself become stagnant. Maintain a healthy workout routine and get into the habit of light exercise on daily basis.

Take a healthy diet as well as exercise, which will not get you to gain too much weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, and will overcome all the weaknesses that cause problems like joint pain.

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