Avoid exposure to cold, doctors advise people

Srinagar: Doctors have advised people especially children, aged and patients immune to cold to take precautions during the ongoing intense cold wave that has gripped the Kashmir Valley.
Principal Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar Dr Parvaiz Shah said that vulnerable groups including aged, patients with chronic disease like lung problems (COPD, Asthma), diabetes, kidney, liver disease, cancer to take extra precaution to safeguard them from falling to illness due to the cold.
“They must take all necessary precautions in consultation with their doctor. They need to protect themselves with vaccination against flu and pneumonia. The rooms in which they stay should be warm and ventilated,” Dr Shah said.
Dr Shah also advised patients with heart and neurological disorders to stay indoors during the cold temperate conditions.
“They must avoid sudden exposure to low temperature as it may lead to complications,” he said.
Shah said decrease in temperature can trigger severe stroke and cardiac arrest in hypertensive patients. Their symptoms start with breathlessness, cough, cold and congestion of chest which may be the signs of pneumonia, he added.
Pediatricians too have advised children to stay indoors to prevent them falling ill. Dr Kaiser Ahmad, Kashmir’s leading pediatrician, has asked children to avoid unnecessary outdoor trips.
In case of compulsion, he said, children should wear multiple layers of warm clothes, and cover nose, mouth, head and limbs. It is better to drink extra fluids in the winters,” he added.
The advisory has come after patients have reported to hospitals with symptoms of diseases caused by the cold.
Shah told Kashmir Reader that the patients with pneumonia, heart attack and stroke have increased in the associated hospitals four times since the cold wave has gripped the Valley.
According to officials, over 200 elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma patients are admitted to Chest Diseases hospital as their illness aggravated following dip in temperature.
“With the dip in mercury below normal people with COPD and other asthma related complications are aggravated. The outpatient department of CD hospital also remains packed with such patients,” said a senior doctor.
He said the hospital receives nearly over 900 patients in the OPD these days as compared to just 250 patients in summers.
“People with asthma and other chest related ailment face hardships because dry weather condition aggravates symptoms. Dry air irritates and leads to swollen airways worsening of condition in the patients,” the doctor said.
He said that patients need to be extra cautious.
“Such patients should always consult their doctor before the onset of winter for any modification and updating of treatment plan. Stand upright or sit down and take a long breath.”

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