As the winter chill sets in in India, the Common cold often emerges as an unwelcome unwanted health concern for many people, causing significant discomfort to children and adults.
During this time, the prevalence of the common cold increases significantly due to various factors like dry air, close indoor contact, and a weakened immune system. As a practising ENT Doctor in Zirakpur, I am keenly aware of the challenges that individuals face during this season. With this write-up, I aim to provide a little guidance on how to safeguard yourself and your family against this illness during winter.
Understanding Common Cold
Common cold is caused by many reasons like viral infections, allergies, mucosal irritation by dry and cold air etc. However, it is primarily believed to be caused by viruses.
This disease presents with symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, and occasionally, a mild fever and body aches. While all this might not seem alarming, its persistence and impact on normal daily life can become a problem.
The symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending upon various Host factors like age and immunity of the host.
As an ENT Surgeon in Zirakpur, I firmly believe that Prevention is undoubtedly the best approach when it comes to avoiding the common cold. Here are some effective strategies:
- Boost Immunity: The best way to strengthen your immune system is by maintaining a nutritious diet which is rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, the importance of Regular exercise and adequate sleep cannot be ignored as they play a pivotal role in maintaining our body’s defences. Vitamin C is known to boost immunity. Vitamin D is another vitamin proven to increase respiratory immunity and immunity against allergies. Foods rich in these can have beneficial effects in winter months.
- Hand Hygiene: As a medical professional, I often advise my patients to have hygienic habits like regularly washing their hands, especially after being in public spaces or interacting with people showing symptoms of the common cold. As stated earlier, the most common cause of colds is believed to be viral infection, so proper hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of viruses.
- Hydration: The dryness of mucous membranes makes it susceptible to viral infections. Also, lack of moisture irritates the mucosa resulting in allergic symptoms and congestion. During winters it is seen that people tend to decrease fluid intake because their thirst decreases. However, one should ensure adequate fluid intake in winter to keep the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract moist, which aids in better defence against viruses.
- Practice Respiratory Etiquette: This is not a fancy term to scare you away. This just includes simple practices like covering your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of droplets containing viruses. Similar practices were advocated during the outbreak of COVID-19 too, which is a dreaded respiratory illness. The importance of these simple practices cannot be stressed enough.
- Avoid Crowded Places: There is ample evidence to suggest that the spread of respiratory viruses is increased manifold by inhaling air in closed spaces with many people. So it makes sense to minimize exposure to crowded areas during peak cold seasons, to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
There cannot be enough preventive measures that can be advised when it comes to avoiding the common cold and other respiratory illnesses. However, I have tried to enlist some common ones that might be of use. Follow them this winter season and I shall be happy to know your feedback and success stories by email.
Seeking Professional Advice
All the advice given above is in no way meant to replace any medical intervention. Please remember, while these preventive measures are effective, if your symptoms persist or worsen, you must seek medical care from a good ENT Surgeon at the earliest to prevent complications. If you do not seek medical attention in a timely way, you might end up with difficult-to-treat conditions like sinusitis, chronic rhinitis or even Pneumonia.
In conclusion, while the common cold might seem inevitable during the winter season, practising preventive measures and seeking timely medical advice can significantly mitigate its impact. Remember, a healthy lifestyle and vigilant hygiene practices are your allies in staying cold-free this winter.
As an ENT specialist in Zirakpur, I extend my services to provide expert consultations and appropriate treatment for individuals experiencing persistent cold symptoms. Additionally, my clinic offers consultations specific to the common cold at a nominal fee, ensuring accessible healthcare for everyone.
Dr. Eshaan Kaushik,
Dr. Eshaan Kaushik (PGI Chandigarh) is one of the Best ENT Surgeon, ENT Doctors and Allergy specialists in Zirakpur, His address is SCO 3, First Floor, Prime Square, Ambala – Chandigarh Rd, opposite Cosmo Mall, Zirakpur, Chandigarh, Punjab 140603. You can call him at 09914593999 to book appointments.