Health Talk

All you wanted to know about winter diseases!

For those who reside in Assam, the winter season is usually a welcome break from the sweltering, sultry summer heat. However, unfortunately, for the asthmatic, the immune-compromised, the hypertensive and the child, the season may bring along with it quite a few problems.

1. Common Cold: One of the predominant diseases of winter is the common cold. Most winter colds are due to viruses and not bacteria. This is important because viral diseases do not respond to the antibiotics used for bacterial colds. The cold will therefore last 'seven days if treated and one week if not' as the wise old adage goes, whether is treated with antibiotics or not. So antibiotics must be avoided unless prescribed by a physician.

Prevention is easily possible with some basic precautions if the immunity of the body is not compromised. Develop an exercise routine depending on your health status. Yoga is helpful and there is a form of yoga exercise available for every kind of health status. Keep yourself covered with warm clothes, especially when outdoors. Eat healthy nutritious foods, balanced with adequate amount of proteins, healthy carbs and vegetables. Keep yourself adequately hydrated with plenty of liquid intake. 

Do not take alcohol for alcohol dehydrates the body! Bask in the early morning sunlight to replenish any Vitamin D deficiencies. Most importantly, wash your hands, (and make your near and dear ones wash theirs too), especially after coming in from outdoors, and when in the vicinity of someone who has a visible cold. Employ cough etiquettes and teach others to do so as well. 

Cough etiquette requires that a person should cough or sneeze into the inner part of his bent elbows or into a tissue which should be discarded immediately into a waste bin. This prevents the bacteria/viruses from sticking onto the hands of the person or going into the air and transferring infection to others. 

2. Asthma: Winters tend to trigger severe bouts of asthma in asthmatics. Several causes are listed. Cold temperatures, dust, house mites, pets, cockroach dander are all known allergens. Allergens cause a hyper sensitivity response in some individuals which leads to asthma. 

Warm clothes, warm liquid foods, and thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the house, before onset of the winters, could reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Also all family members of an asthmatic individual must keep tabs on the medication availability, like puffs and nebulisers. Make sure that the medications are at hand at all times, wherever you are, indoors or outdoors. 

3. Stroke: For some reason and doctors are not really clear about why, there are increased numbers of brain strokes in the winters as compared to the summers. Please take your blood pressure medicines and monitor the blood pressure routinely. A healthy diet will keep cholesterol at check. Keeping yourself physically active by walking or even doing household chores will ensure blood circulation. Be alert for signs of stroke like weakness of arms, drooping of the face, difficulty in speech, etc and contact your physician or nearest emergency care hospital immediately.

4. Dry Skin: The low humidity during winters contributes to the skin becoming drier than in the summers. Skin gets dry and scaly, itchy, lips are chapped, dry noses may lead to nose bleeds. Avoiding long hot showers and baths helps. Short baths and using warm, instead of hot water, reduces the dryness. Hydration is important so have plenty of fluids. Body lotions and moisturisers after baths help to retain the moisture. Washing hands frequently is unavoidable, so make sure to moisturize your hands after each wash!

(Dr. Juri Bharat Kalita is a Senior Consultant, Microbiology and Health Care Management, and Heads Quality for Ayursundra Healthcare Private limited. She can be reached at




Q. Hello madam, I am a 8th standard student. Madam, I have a problem. Even though I am matured enough, I play with kids. I tend to jump all round the house. My family members tell me that I am now a matured girl and should be serious with everything. I try to change myself but I can't. Madam please help me! 

(Name withheld)


Ans: I do understand what you are going through. Teenage years can be quite confusing and difficult at times. One side we need to grow up (because adults around us say so) and on the other side, we feel there is still a child in us. Believe me when I say it is ok to have these mixed feelings. Everyone does. Just that none of us share about it. All long as you are aware of your responsibilities and make sure you carry them out. There is nothing else left to worry about. Do your duties diligently. There is simply nothing wrong in playing with kids, I think it is simply wonderful that you can relate to young children, not everyone can. So cheer up and enjoy! 


Q. I got married last year and since then I have been having some problems. I cannot control my emotions and get angry at anything said to me. I feel that my husband doesn't love me. He says he doesn't like me and will leave me whenever we quarrel. I feel angry and depressed nowadays. I am afraid that my husband will leave me forever. I know everybody dislikes me, including my husband. I love my husband very much. Please help me. I feel very lonely. 

(Name withheld) 


Ans: You seem to be experiencing difficulty in controlling your emotions. Due to this you are probably experiencing conflict with your husband and both of you are unable to develop a nurturing relationship. Feeling negative at this moment is but natural under the circumstances. Talk to your husband freely and explain to him that you require his help in changing your emotional reactions. Ask him to give you some time and be patient. Seeking professional help of a counsellor would be beneficial.


Q. I am in the 8th standard. Madam, I get angry very soon and sometimes I even talk roughly with my parents. I try to change myself but I can't. But my parents always complain about my behavior in front of others. I just feel ashamed. Please give me a solution. 

(Name withheld)


Ans: I am glad you are aware of your anger problem and want help to control it. There are effective anger management strategies available. Discuss with your parents and share with them that you want help to manage your anger problem. I am sure they will be happy to help you out. Go for few sessions on anger management from a trained Counsellor or Psychologist. You will benefit. All the best.


Ms.Gariasi Dutta, MSW (TISS) is Psychological Counsellor with Down Town Hospital, Guwahati. She can be contacted at 98640-55560 or