We are living in one of the most polluted country; therefore it is impossible to breathe in clean and fresh air especially in winters. As winter weather rolls in, so do colds and flu. But for those with respiratory problems, it can be an especially stressful time of the year because even a simple cold virus or bacteria can worsen their health condition. In winters, level of air pollution raises due to which respiratory disorders tickle allergy prone people more easily. Fine particulate matter in air poses serious health concerns because it can pass through the nose and throat, lodge deeply in the lungs and pass across the lungs into the cardiovascular system. Particles can aggravate lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and elevate respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath.
Respiratory infections can be defined as infection in the throat, sinuses, or lungs. The most common respiratory infections include influenza, the common cold, sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.
If you haven't been feeling well, then tiny particles that have filled the city’s air, and your body, may be to blame.
First one needs to understand the symptoms of respiratory disorders that one suffers from due to pollution. So if you are the one facing the following symptoms, it’s better to consult the doctor. The symptoms are:
- Unusual increase or decrease in phlegm production
- Different color of Phlegm or tinged with blood
- Increase or severity of breathlessness
- Pain in the chest, fever, ankle swelling, extreme fatigue or unusual drowsiness
- Unaccountable increase or decrease in weight
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Frequent morning headaches, dizzy spells, loss of libido and insomnia
- Development of confusion, disorientation, slurring of the speech, or sleepiness
Don't let the cold or dry air worsen your problem. Follow these tips to stay healthy when the temperatures dip:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Your lungs require moisture to keep the cleansing systems working and to keep you free from infection in the drier air of wintertime. It can cause serious respiratory infections. So drink plenty of fluids such as water, fruit juices, green tea, and soups to keep body well hydrated. Drinking most liquids before your evening meal will minimize interruptions during the night.
Consume Vitamin C and Vitamin D
Eating the right food can prevent lung damage. Vitamin C is very beneficial as it keeps the lungs powerful, so have a glass of orange or lemon juice every day. You can add fruits such as Indian gooseberries, apples, cranberries, grapes in your diet. On the other hand, Vitamin D enhances immune system against respiratory pathogens. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D are fish, beef liver, sunlight, cheese, mushrooms, etc.
Take in Zinc and Omega 3 Fatty acids
Eat foods that are rich in zinc because it helps to flush out allergens from the blood. There are large varieties of vegetables and fruits available in winters that are full zinc such as spinach, kidney beans, pumpkin, garlic, onion, pork and peanuts. Simultaneously, Omega 3 fatty acids in any form like almonds, fish, flax seeds, walnuts and groundnuts are helpful for asthmatics as it works to cleanse the lungs.
Don’t sit by the fireplace
While sitting by the fire sounds lovely and cozy, it’s not so good for people suffering from asthma or bronchitis. Smoke from burning wood, crackers, cigarettes, hukah or tandoors can give you a chocking feel and can irritate your lungs.
During winters, when it’s bitterly cold outside and the wind chill makes it feel like it’s below zero, it is better to stay inside and exercise instead of exercising outside. The temperatures and the humidity indoors are less likely to cause a problem because level of air pollution remains at its peak during early mornings and at nights in winters.
Garnish your Platter with Oregano
A potent antibiotic and antiviral herb, oregano, and oil of oregano, is another wonderful remedy that works particularly well at treating respiratory illness. Add oregano to your meal or you can mix six to seven drops of oregano oil in water and gargle with it for instant relief, or you can drink it to kill infection.
Ingest Anti-Viral & Anti- Bacterial Compounds
Basil (tulsi), ginger and elderberry are packed with antiviral and anti-bacterial compounds. They are excellent herbs for both preventing and treating respiratory disorders. The herbs work exceptionally well at relieving pain and disinfecting the body. Apple Cider Vinegar can be a boon when it comes to detoxifying respiratory system. Last but not the least mullein leaves and flowers soothe mucous membranes in the respiratory tract while clearing excess mucus.
Keep your mouth close
It may sound funny but keeping your mouth closed is good for your lungs. Ideally, you should breathe through your nose, not from your mouth, when you’re out in the cold because the nose warms up the air for the lungs.
Use facial Mask
Prevention is always better than cure. That’s why to safeguard yourself from pollution, it’s recommended to use mask during winters as its activated carbon cloth protects you from air pollutants and can filters particulate matter. The inner and outer layers of mask are made of cotton to ensure maximum breath ability.
Keeping your respiratory disorders under control may take a little more effort in the cold of winter, but these remedies will get you through the season without worsened symptoms.
Feature Image Source: ibtimes.co.uk
This was first published in November 2015