Winter is here and so are joint pains, allergy, viral fever

Weather conducive for spurt in bacterial and viral infections

 
Normally during winter, seasonal flu occurs with symptoms of fever, cold, cough and body ache. This year, the seasonal flu has been replaced by Influenza (A) H1N1. "The chilly weather makes the virus more compatible to multiply, increasing the prevalence of upper respiratory tract infection cases," said Dr Ranganath from Narayana Hrudayala.
 
The absence of sunlight also makes it conducive for various bacterial and viral infections to breed. The number of cases with viral fever accompanied with joint pains has been on the rise, this year. Many patients are still suffering with joint related problems, which could aggravate this winter.

Dr Shiva Prasad from KC General Hospital said that there has been a constant rise in the URTI cases. 

"Nearly 10-12 patients visit the outpatient department complaining with flu-like symptoms every day.  Sometimes, vector borne illnesses like Chikungunya and Dengue might even relapse, resulting in intensified joint pain," he said.

Dr R D Chakravorty, Head of Department, Orthopaedics, Manipal Hospital, said arthritic people often complained of joint pain and stiffness when the temperature became low.
He said, "If people get joint aches, they can wrap crepe bandage on the affected area or put warm water or heat producing creams." However, he stressed that people should rule out pain killers as a solution for pain.

Skin and cardiac problems

Skin problems and increase in blood pressure also escalate during winter because of lack of humidity. According to Dr Govindaiah Yatheesh, deputy medical superintendent, Apollo Hospitals, the cold climate cause the body's metabolism to increase, thereby creating a peripheral vaso construction. With lack of nourishment, the skin becomes dry and starts cracking.

"The blood pressure is also known to increase during winter. If a person exerts or does rigorous exercise, it produces stress in the heart, resulting in heart stroke or heart attack. It can also result in heart failure amongst people already having cardiac problems," he said. While keeping warm was an excellent way to protect oneself, Dr Yatheesh said, "It is better to avoid any kind of exercise or walks post dinner."

Dr H Paramesh, director Lakeside Hospital, said heart attack cases definitely increases during winter. In addition to cardiac problems, he pointed out that 90 per cent of the asthma attacks also got triggered during this season. "As the temperature is cold there is lack of humidity. The dry air irritates asthma patients. There is also a rise in pollen and fungal spores in the environment, aggravating their condition," he said.

Children were also prone to a several illnesses during winter. Dr Paramesh said that the most common problems that were noticed were cold, respiratory illness, bronchitis, sinusitis, middle ear infection, etc. "In fact, 80 per cent of the asthmatic children suffer from breathing problem triggered by viral infections.

Parents should also keep their children away from fumes caused by two-wheelers, as it can enter their respiratory system and can prove to be dangerous," he cautioned.  

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