Winter Blues, Beyond Cold & Flu

Indus Health Plus
Yahoo Lifestyle

For most of us, winter is the staple ‘cold and flu season’. But apart from runny nose, series of sneezes and hacking cough, several other disease conditions flare up in the pretext of cold weather. Have a look at them and find ways to keep the exacerbations away.


Dip in temperature triggers arthritis for most people. Being indoors most of the times, less body movement, body circulating less blood to limbs in order to conserve warm blood around the heart and swelling in muscles are all good enough reasons for stiff and painful joints.

Resolution – Keep yourself moving! Don’t stay stagnant at one place for a long time. Even while sitting, do rotational exercises for knee, ankle, wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. Keep yourself warm with appropriate winter wear. Apply hot fomentation to joints.

Psoriasis & Eczema

As temperature drops, room heaters come out making the air around you go down on moisture. Now, this dry air strips the thin layer of oil that traps moisture in the skin, flaring itchy conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Resolution – Keep the shower as brief as possible and use ‘lukewarm’, not HOT water. Switch to moisture-rich, glycerine based soaps. Apply a good amount of moisturizer on the body while the skin is still slightly damp after bathing. If you cannot avoid heavy woollens due to extreme winter, wear any loose cotton clothing to avoid direct contact of wool with the skin to avoid irritation. Use a humidifier to increase moisture levels in the home. Try to keep stress under control as stress is one of the major known triggers for psoriasis and eczema.

Respiratory Diseases

Winter could be a difficult time for people with respiratory diseases especially like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) flare-ups. COPD symptoms such as shortness of breath and lingering coughs become pronounced in cold weather.

Cold air causes the airways to constrict, making it harder to breathe, especially for people suffering with asthma. The narrowing in the airway passage makes less air to enter the lungs leading to breathlessness and coughing.

Resolution – Wearing enough warm clothes goes without saying to keep away from chilli winds. Wrapping a scarf around face when going out is a good idea so that you don’t have to breathe in the cold air. If possible stay away from crowds or going to crowded places to avoid coming in contact with all sorts of bacteria and viruses. Get vaccinated against influenza (flu) and pneumonia can prove beneficial for people with lung diseases like asthma and COPD.

Heart Diseases

Hospitals report increased number of heart disease cases during winters. Due to cold, the arteries become constricted and blood’s viscosity increases making it much thicker. The heart has to put in more effort to pump the blood, which makes the heart to stress out leading to a rise in heart attacks and other coronary artery diseases during winter season. It could be more risky for people who do not have any inkling about their pre-existing heart conditions.

Resolution - People, especially diabetic patients, should avoid going for a walk in the morning on extremely chilly days. Too much alcohol intake during winter can also cause atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat also called arrhythmia) and people tend to suffer from palpitations, fainting, chest pain or even congestive heart failure. Do not over burden yourself with excessive exercise as your New Year resolution. Go slow, remain steady!


This article is by Indus Health Plus, the preventive health checkup specialist site. Visit Indus Health Plus.