Cold weather continues prolonging season of illness

March 11, 2019

Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

A very contagious common cold is widespread across the Kingdom as the chilling winter continues with its long season of ailments. Hospitals and polyclinics all over the country are receiving large numbers of patients with respiratory tract infections, viral fever and arthritis. Many others complain of sore throats, fever, runny nose, cough, allergic bronchitis, asthma and middle ear infection.

Common cold is spread either by direct contact with contaminated surfaces or by inhaling the airborne virus after individuals sneeze or cough.

Winter-related ailments are tougher to deal with especially for the elderly and children, whose immunity levels are compromised.

Cases of seasonal influenza have been on rise with changing weather, according to health practitioners. Flu is common with a change in climate, especially as the weather gets cooler.

“Some common ailments in winter include viral fevers, cough and cold, stomach infections, asthma and respiratory disorders, ear and eye infections, arthritis and skin dehydration. Muscle pains triggered due to cold weather are also common,” said Dr. Shahid Rizwan, health practitioner at a local hospital, who treats scores of such patients daily.

The virus changes so quickly that the body is rarely prepared for the next season’s strain. “The antibodies built up in patients no longer recognize the virus, thus they lose immunity against it,” explains Dr. Rizwan.

He emphasized that most of the people affected do not require antibiotics as it is not a bacterial infection but if no proper care is taken it may develop into a bacterial infection.

“Elderly people and infants should refrain from cold waves as they are most vulnerable to respiratory problems, viral infections, influenza and other common ailments,” he said.

Dr. Rizwan added that infections can spread quickly among people particularly children during speaking or sneezing, or by touching devices such as TV remote controllers and mobile phones used by an affected person.

Also, many people tend to drink less water during winter, which could lead to dehydration. “It is a serious health issue and must not be taken lightly,” Dr. Rizwan cautioned.

Regular and nutritious meals are a must as they give strength to the body to fight the virus, he underlined.

Dr. Rizwan also advised children to avoid touching common things such as door handles and stair railings. He noted that several children are infected at schools.

“People suffering from chronic ailments require extra care as they are at high risk of heart diseases,” the doctor warned.

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