Winter is one of the most awaited seasons of the year, with the cold winds at their peak. People enjoy this climate and the holidays in the season by often stepping out of their houses to visit family and friends. However, what most people forget is that this season also carries around a lot of infections and germs in the air along with the sweet winter breeze. The two most common and severe diseases one can catch is Sinusitis and Bronchitis.
It is the inflammation of the tissues of the sinus cavities that exist in the skull. These tissues are usually only filled with air when they are healthily functioning. When the sinuses are infected with germs, they tend to get filled with fluid and get blocked. In very rare cases, untreated sinusitis can lead to brain abscess, bone infections or even meningitis. These blocks can be caused by:
- Swelling of the nose due to the common cold
- Nasal Polyps – they are small abnormal growths in the lining of the nose
- Deviated Septum – this is a shift in the nasal cavity of the nose
- Allergic Rhinitis – this is the swelling of the lining of the nose
- Blocked ducts
Symptoms of Sinusitis include:
- Facial pain
- Swelling of eyelids
- Runny or clogged nose
- Bad breath
- Thick yellow or green mucus or nasal discharge
- Tooth ache
Ways to get relief from sinusitis:
- Warm compress can be used to relievefacial pain
- Use of nasal sprays and decongestants that can open up blocked nasal passages
- Doctor prescribed antibiotics
- Inhalation of warm moist air or use of a humidifier
It is a respiratory disease which infects the bronchial passages and inflames the mucus membranes in the lungs. Due to the inflammation, the airways of the lungs gets constricted and sometimes shuts the air supply which results in bouts of congested severe coughs along with phlegm. There are two conditions of bronchitis; acute and chronic.
- Acute bronchitis is a bacterial upper respiratory infection that produces phlegm and is also responsible for severe cough and settles down in a few weeks. This is caused by viruses that may spread through a flu or lung irritants such as smoke, dust and other kinds of pollutants.
- Chronic bronchitis is a long term disorder which affects the lungs and damages the hair like structures called cilia that protect the lungs from excess mucus and inhaled dirt. This condition needs to be taken care of from time to time. Major causes of this disorder are long term smoking or exposure to air pollution in the environment.
Symptoms of Bronchitis include:
- Persistent cough
- Sore throat
- Mucus production
- Clogged Nose
- Body ache
Ways to treat bronchitis:
- Doctor prescribed antibiotics
- Using a humidifier relieves wheezing and mucus flow
- Breathing exercises help strengthen lungs
- Medicines such as bronchodilators and mucolytics which open up the bronchial tubes and loosen mucus
These are the two most common winter diseases that can affect the lungs for up to several weeks before they start to heal and a person can resume normal routine. During this chilly weather, everyone should stay protected by wearing warm woollens , maintain hygiene by frequent hand wash and avoiding places with high air pollution.