Winter is a tough time of year for everyone, let alone people who are susceptible to illness. We all have a weaker part of our body – maybe you tend to roll your ankle when you’re out running, or you get ear infections easily. But there are other people who suffer badly with their chests, and winter is a particularly hard time for that. The cold air can affect people badly and there are also a lot of colds going round. Here are some common winter ailments and conditions that can get worse in the winter, and some ways you can prevent them getting worse to protect your chest all year round.
What Are They? A cold is a mild viral infection that usually clears up by itself. Symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, a sore throat, coughing and sneezing.
How To Prevent Them: A lot of the time, your natural immune system will be what prevents you from catching colds, so you can boost it by taking plenty of supplements like Vitamin C and zinc. You should also make sure that your hygiene is excellent during the winter. When you get home from work, wash your hands for thirty seconds with hot water and plenty of antibacterial soap, and when you’re out of the house, remember not to touch your face with your hands. If you get a cold and you’re going through a lot of nose-blowing, throw away all your tissues after using them – reusing damp ones will be uncomfortable and unhygienic. You can alleviate your symptoms by taking painkillers and decongestants. Honey and lemon drinks can be very soothing to a sore throat along with cough sweets. Remember that milk and other dairy products may make you feel even worse and more congested, so steer away from them.
What Is It? If you suffer from asthma, chances are your symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness around your chest as though there’s a band squeezing it, and coughing. It’s a chronic condition that often stays with people for the rest of their lives so it’s crucial that you manage it carefully and keep checking in with your doctor.
How To Prevent It: Make sure that you take your preventer inhalers every day and that you use your reliever inhalers whenever you’re having problems. If it’s easier for you, you can order your Ventolin inhaler online. Hire a cleaner to make sure that your home is free of dust and try to stay away from environmental triggers. Unfortunately, dander of pets like cats and dogs can often make your asthma worse, so carefully consider whether you should start looking for a new home for your furry pals.
What Is It? If you’ve had a cold or flu and you’re still having problems breathing, then you may just be suffering from a case of bronchitis, which along with pneumonia (more on that later!) is a sign of a chest infection and a temporary inflammation of the airways. Symptoms include a hacking, persistent cough which brings up clear or yellowy mucus, a sore throat, a headache, a runny or blocked nose and aches and pains along with fatigue.
How To Prevent It: Although it sounds serious, bronchitis is very treatable. First and most importantly, if you are a smoker, it’s crucial that you quit at least until you’re healthy again. Smoking will make your symptoms worse and increase your chances of developing chronic bronchitis. If you suspect that you have mild bronchitis, you can treat yourself at home with anti inflammatory drugs – just make sure that, like with all illnesses, you drink a lot of fluids like water and tea, and that you get plenty of rest.
What Is It? Like bronchitis, pneumonia is a form of a chest infection that you might develop after suffering from a cough or a cold. The symptoms often come on quickly, and include a cough which can produce bloody mucus, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, a fever, and swearing and shivering. You could also cough up blood, or feel nauseous.
How To Prevent It: Around eight people per every thousand are affected by pneumonia every year – although it’s a serious illness, it’s also very treatable. If you suspect you have it, go to see your doctor, and seek more urgent medical attention if you have severe symptoms like chest pain. Small children and elderly people are often affected worse by pneumonia. It tends to be caused by a pneumococcal infection and can be treated by resting, taking antibiotics, and drinking lots of fluids.