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Prevention is better than cure: Here's how to ward off winter infections

According to the National Health Profile report, more than 40 million cases of acute respiratory infection were reported in India in 2016

Monica Mahajan 

AIR POLLUTION
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Infection prevention is one of the most crucial aspects of medical science and it involves a number of aspects ranging from surroundings, climate, quality of air and water and management of an existing disease. Winters can particularly invite a number of infection-related ailments.

Smog, a combination of smoke and fog, forms a blanket over the cities during winters and causes severe damage to the health of the inhabitants. Smog can cause, cold, eye irritation, respiratory tract infections and sustained exposure can also aggravate the asthma attacks.

Winters can also result in a feeling of breathlessness, tightness of chest and wheezing tendency.

The danger of flu also increases during the winters. The flu virus can be more stable in the cold air.

In addition, the current rise in proves to be a lethal blow adding to the threat of infections. According to the National Health Profile report, more than 40 million cases of acute respiratory infection were reported in India in 2016.

Infection prevention requires constant action but can be achieved through simple and effective strategies.

  • Implementing basic hygiene practices like washing hands, eating clean food, drinking filtered or boiled water and maintaining cleanliness, can go a long way in preventing various types of infection.
  • In case of an existing disease, the patient should be kept in a controlled environment with limited interaction with the outside atmosphere depending on the severity of the illness.
  • It is also important to not come in contact with the patient to protect yourself from contagious diseases.
  • Certain food items can help in improving your immunity and safeguarding against the onset of diseases. Use of jaggery (gur), sesame seeds (til), ginger, black pepper, dry fruits and dates are some of the foods that can help in protecting you against several infections.
  • Consuming green tea can also prove to be beneficial against many infections.
  • Levels of may decrease in your body during winters. Going out in the sun and taking supplements, after consultation with your doctor, can help your body fight against infections.
  • Certain vaccines are also recommended, as per doctor’s advice, to prepare against diseases like influenza.
  • Staying active and following a fitness/exercise regime also goes a long way in preparing your body against the onset of many diseases.
  • Considering the current fast-paced lives, carrying a liquid sanitiser can help in avoiding infections on-the-go.
  • To protect yourself from air pollution, and personal protection gear, like masks, should be used.
  • The more vulnerable group, including children, elderly and people suffering from asthma, diabetes and cardiac ailments, should be extra cautious against any kind of infection and should not ignore any symptoms. Immediate consultation with your doctor is suggested in the case of fever, cough with coloured phlegm or difficulty in breathing.

First Published: Sat, November 24 2018. 22:24 IST