The Winter season is a time for holiday celebrations and gift-giving. It occurs from December to March. The year’s coldest months are December and January when the temperature is between 10-15 degrees Celsius in the northern region and around 20-25 degrees Celsius in the southern region.
In order to be healthy in the winter season keeping warm is very necessary. But it brings various health hazards. Some winter products such as hot water bottles, electric blankets, and heaters can cause burns and other injuries. This equipment can at times overheat and can give an electric shock and cause a fire.
What to Do to Remain Safe Indoors
It is seen that more than 40% of all deaths from fire happen during winter. In order to prevent this situation, install smoke alarms throughout the home and test them monthly.
Always keep curtains, tablecloths, and bedding away from portable heaters.
Keep wet clothes at least one meter from heaters or fireplaces. Never place clothes or towels on a heater.
Never use a gas oven or stove as a room heater as such room heaters consume all the oxygen of the room. This results in the first formation of carbon dioxide and then carbon mono oxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill.
If you are using Gas Water Heater in the bathroom, make sure there is proper ventilation. Lack of ventilation can lead to Carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels. Every year there are incidents of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with hemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body), to form carboxyhemoglobin. When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.
It should be kept in mind to use just one appliance per power point and switch them off when you’re not using them. Overload caused by a heater can cause a fire.
- Never leave burning candles or any open flame unattended.
- Always store matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of young children.
- Always keep children away from open heat sources such as gas stoves.
- Always check every winter that heaters are safe to use.
- Always check that the gas heater is working correctly.
Always use warm not boiling water to fill a hot water bottle and examine any leaks before use. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn or every 2 years. As rubber can perish from inside so the worn-out signs of the bottle are not correctly visible.
Hot water bottles should never be kept directly on the skin as they can cause burn injuries. It should always be wrapped in a towel or any cloth.
Besides cold and flu are very common in winters. Flu is caused by various types of viruses and causes a severe health hazard. If not treated properly it can lead to death.
How to Prevent Flu
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw tissues in the bin after use.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water especially after cough or sneeze.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid contact to the eyes, nose, or mouth as germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who have a flu-like illness.
If a person has flu-like symptom:
- He should stay home. It will limit the spread of the flu to other people.
- Try to limit contact with other people to keep from infecting them.
- It is seen that no treatment is very effective to cure a cold. The only way to recover faster is to take plenty of rest and take adequate fluid in the diet.
In order to stay healthy in the winter season, it is very important to eat nutritious food. Food should include vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats. A well-balanced diet should be taken to stay healthy. Always add a high amount of protein, fibers, Vitamins B, C, D, and E, low sugars, and fats to your diet.
It is very important to drink fluids throughout the day. In winter, we do not feel thirst as we do not perspire. So, it is easy to neglect hydration when the weather becomes cooler. Also, skin problems like eczema become more common in winter because changes in temperature and indoor heating can dry out our skin. Drinking an adequate amount of fluids will flush out toxins from the body.
In winters it is seen that people become lazy in winter. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition that is seen in winter. It prevents people to be active and maintain health.
- Always take out time from routine for exercise. It makes a person more active and free from disease.
- In order to keep warm, keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block cold winds.
- Try to take regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible.
- Eat regularly as it helps in keeping energy levels up during winter.
- Always wear several light layers of warms clothes.
- Always include 2 fruits and 5 vegetables in your diet.
- Limit intake of foods that contain saturated fat added salt, added sugars, and alcohol.
- Reduce sitting time in front of the television or computer.
- Include Vitamin C containing fruits such as Amla, Orange, Lemon in the diet. This helps to boost immunity and helps in recurrent respiratory infection.
- As Smoking causes around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalizations in a year, it is very important to quit smoking.
- Quitting will improve health and reduce the risk of disease and premature death.
- Wear a hat, gloves, and socks to avoid exposure. Don’t wear too much as it will hinder blood circulation.
- Eat foods with high calories.
- Avoid exposure to the cold for too long.
- Don’t spit. Always wrap nasal mouth discharges with tissue paper and dispose of them properly in the bin. Spitting in the open can cause the spread of infection.
- Wear a mask when symptoms of respiratory tract infection or fever develop.
- Always maintain good ventilation of indoor areas.
- Special care should be taken for infants. Do not overheat or overdress the baby in order to keep warm. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Keep baby’s face and head uncovered during sleep.
- Keep the room well ventilated.
As old people have less fat beneath their skin they are more prone to catch a cold. Diseases in these individuals worsen in the winter season. Their control mechanism is weaker so they are infected by diseases. Problems like hypertension, diabetes, and problems related to the endocrine system also worsen due to lower metabolic rate and this causes the production of less heat in the body.
Stroke, Fractures, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia (loss of memory) may restrict the mobility of the elderly. It slows down the generation and conservation of body heat.
Old age should wear appropriate warm clothing, including hats, scarves, gloves, and socks.
They should avoid consumption of alcohol. Some people think that drinking alcohol will keep them warm, but this is wrong. In fact, alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate and the body actually loses heat.
Babies should normally lie on their backs. Pillows should not be used. Babies should not be placed with their feet at the foot of the cot and their arms outside light bedding.
Worsening of asthma is seen in winter.
Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.
Symptoms of Asthma
Cough is a common symptom of asthma. It starts from a dry cough.
- It is a whistling or high pitch sound that is heard as air is d of narrow tight airways.
- The tightness of the chest is seen in asthma. Younger children describe it as pain in the stomach.
- Vomiting associated with severe attacks.
- Feeling anxious and frightened.
- A patient will gasp for air.
- The patient is unable to speak more than a single word.
- The patient will struggle to take a breath.
- Frequent sucking in at the throat and stomach.
Life-threatening asthma symptoms:
- Being unable to move and speak.
- The patient appears pale and blue around the lips.
- No audible wheezing.
- Asthma is a long-term disease that has no cure. The goal of asthma treatment is to control the disease. You can work with your doctor to create a personal asthma action plan.