Climate fluctuations: Know how to take care of your lungs this winter

Dry air can trouble the airways of people with lung diseases which can lead to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath

Climate fluctuations: Know how to take care of your lungs this winter
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After a scorching summer and a wearisome monsoon, winter is almost here. The nights are getting longer and festival decorations are going up, but for many people the winter season does not bode well.

Cold weather can quickly flare-up the symptoms and make you more susceptible to illnesses. Cold weather, and particularly cold air, can majorly impact your respiratory health and for many, especially those with chronic lung disease, that can spell problem.

While you cannot control the weather, you can bring down its impact on your respiratory health. Stay ahead by keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Wear proper winter clothing to stay warm. Have proper nutrition and adequate hydration.
  • Remember to take your prescribed controller medication which is another important way to reduce the possible impact of the changing weather conditions on your health.
  • If you have asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), always carry quick-relief medications with you and use it as soon as you begin to have symptoms.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors during cold weather. Do a proper warm up before you indulge into exercise outdoors.
  • Try to stay as active as you can in order to keep the body warm. When you are indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour, get up and move around.
  • Take some common precautions to avoid getting and spreading cold and flu.
  • Have your physician prescribe you a flu shot, and keep yourself immune, which is the best protection.
  • Wash your hands frequently as a good thumb rule; get rid of germs by scrubbing your hands using warm and soapy water for about 30 seconds.
  • Ask your doctor about a prescription for medicine you can keep at home using when symptoms of a chest infection appear.
  • If you do have medicines at home, check the use by dates of medicines to make sure they can be used through the winter.
  • If you take any emergency medication, inform your doctor about it and use your medicines as prescribed.
  • Have a lot of hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day, if you can. Eating on time helps keep your energy levels up during the winter.
  • With just a little care and planning, you can increase your chances of staying healthy, this winter season.

The author is a Consultant Pulmonologist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund