Winter: Don’t let upper respiratory tract infections stop you

When temperatures drop and windows and doors stay shut, viruses can thrive indoors and upper respiratory tract infections take a toll on your health. City experts offer tips to stave off the winter blues and sniffles


Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy from upper respiratory tract infections.

Dr Aditya Agrawal, a chest specialist at Bhatia Hospital said, “The number of patients with respiratory disorders has increased owing to the weather change. A lot of people visit me complaining of nasal allergies, asthma, bronchitis, allergic conjunctivitis and sore throat. There is 60 per cent rise in the number of patients who suffer allergies.”

Dr Mandar Kubal, an infectious disease expert from Infectious Diseases & Pulmonary Care, Chembur advised, to consume warm fluids like tea or soups. “Keep yourself warm. People who step out early morning should protect themselves from cold as there is a lot of smog and dust. Build up your immunity. Don’t go out on empty stomach. Have a healthy breakfast.  Flu shots are recommended for people who are asthmatic, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and elderly people,” said Kubal.

“In this season, we do generally get a lot of people complaining about upper respiratory tract infection. Mainly, the infections are due to rise in the allergens and pollution. To avoid this, wear a mask, do not exercise early morning as that is the time when pollution is at the peak. That is why, exercising indoors during the mornings is better,” said Dr Ashok Mahashur, consultant chest physician at PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre.

Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya, consuming broccoli almond soup, turmeric ginger tea, green tea, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, spinach and including garlic and ginger in the diet can strengthen the immunity.


  • Taking the flu shot and vaccine can help improve immunity
  • Stay away from polluting atmosphere that can aggravate respiratory ailments
  • Doing simple deep breathing exercises like yogic exercises
  • Maintain personal hygiene like hand washing and using handkerchiefs to avoid spreading infections
  • Avoid crowded places or use mask
  • Wear warm clothes and drink and eat warm food stuffs
  • Gurgle daily with warm water. Use half tablespoon common salt and two-three pinch of cooking soda with the warm water for gurgling
  • Avoid citrus food and early morning walks in cold temperatures
  • If suffering from running nose, take steam inhalation
  • Cardiac patients should wrap a warm blanket during sleep to avoid