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Common winter illnesses and how to combat them 


Families are looking to make the most of the dip in temperatures in the Gulf region, with picnics in the park and barques in the desert. However, the cooler months also brings with it its share of illnesses. Joint pains are exacerbated and health problems like asthma are worsened.

Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq, Specialist – Internal Medicine at Medeor 24×7 Hospital, Dubai outlines some diseases that rear its head in winter and some preventive measures:

  • Itchy Skin:The cold temperature and the low humidity results in dry, scaly skin that is itchy. Keep a small tub of moisturizer in your car or bag and keep re-applying. In the night, apply almond or olive oil to soothe and nourish your skin.
  • Sinusitis:Headaches, coughing and a runny nose along with congestion are a constant companion in the winter months for those who suffer from sinusitis. These symptoms are aggravated when there is poor ventilation in rooms so leave windows open to let in the cool breeze for an hour or so daily. Speak to your Doctor who will prescribe the best medication for you to manage the symptoms. In order to prevent symptoms from flaring up, drink plenty of fluids and get ample rest.
  • Painful Joints:Arthritis sufferers complain of worsened joint pain and stiffness during the cold months. Maintaining your exercise regime during the winter months can help provide some comfort from the symptoms. Exercising can also deter you from piling on the holiday weight.
  • Colds and Sore Throats:Viral infections are rampant during the winter season and it is quite easy to contract a sore throat or cold. In order to limit the spread of colds, keep all towers and glasses/cups clean. Also make sure to wipe down surfaces such as light switches and door handles. To combat a sore throat, gargle with warm salty water which will help soothe your throat.

Winter can also take its toll on children and Dr. Mohammed Zaheeruddin, Specialist Pediatrician at Medeor 24×7 Hospital; Dubai sheds light on the common illnesses that plague kids during the winter months:

  • Ear Infections:Changes in the weather conditions, especially the onset of colder winds, increase the threat of ear infections in children. The pain and nausea associated with the condition can bring about a great amount of discomfort. Consult your child’s Pediatrician who will prescribe a course of antibiotics to combat the infection.
  • Norovirus:This virus, that causes a stomach infection, is the strongest during the winter months. The severe vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration in children and it is important for parents to ensure their kids get plenty of oral re-hydration fluids. If the symptoms persist and are accompanied by a fever, make sure to seek medical advice.
  • Bronchiolitis:The viral infection is rampant during the winter months and results in the swelling of the air passages in the lungs. Since young children have small airways, an incidence of bronchiolitis results in mucus build up too. To prevent the spread of the illness, make sure to wipe down with disinfectant counter tops, door knobs, remote controls and other items that are frequently touched around the house.



Photo credit: Jonathan Kos-Read via / CC BY-ND


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