With the cold of winter, the circulation of respiratory viruses increases, causing an increase in hospitalizations and visits to the doctor for various seasonal diseases, which, although affecting the general population, especially affect infants under 5 years of age and people over 5 years of age. 65 years old.
Dr. Valeria El Hadj, Medical Director of Ospedyc, explains which pathologies are most common in winter and how they can be prevented.
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What diseases are most common in winter?
With cold and low temperatures, the circulation of viruses increases, which implies a greater risk of children or adults suffering from their own diseases during this period.
“Winter often affects the respiratory tract, and for this reason, there are more pathologies at this time of the year,” explains El Hadj.
Seasonal influenza is an acute viral infection. The most common viruses are influenza type A and influenza type B, which are characterized by sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), muscle, joint, head and throat pain, severe malaise, and copious nasal discharge. “The rest of the symptoms usually disappear in most cases within a week without the need for medical treatment,” explains the doctor.
This disease affects any age group, but some people are at greater risk than others, such as: medical personnel, pregnant women, those under the age of 5, those over 65, patients with chronic heart, lung, kidney, and metabolic diseases ( neurological, hepatic, or hematological) or immunosuppression (due to HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, or malignancy).
Seasonal flu spreads easily and quickly. By coughing or sneezing, infected people spread droplets containing the virus up to 1 meter into the air, thus infecting those around them who inhale the droplets. The virus can remain active for hours in a cold, low-humidity environment, and transmission increases in closed, crowded areas.
Patients who do not belong to risk groups should receive symptomatic treatment and are advised to stay at home if they develop symptoms to reduce the risk of transmission. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms such as fever. If their condition worsens, they should seek medical attention.
The most effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination. WHO recommends annual vaccination in:
- Pregnancy at any gestational age
- Children from 6 months to 5 years
- over 65 years old
- Patients with chronic diseases
- Health professionals.
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It is an inflammation of the small airways (bronchioles) that affects children under 2 years of age. It is caused by the respiratory synthial virus and is clinically and functionally characterized by obstructive respiratory failure. “The diagnosis is established on the basis of a clinical examination. In most children, bronchiolitis is a self-limiting disease and the patient can be treated at home with symptomatic treatment,” comments National Medical Director OSPECEDIC. And he adds that: “It is recommended not to stop breastfeeding, semi-sitting position for sleeping, separate feeding, aspiration of secretions and in some cases specific drugs for bronchial obstruction.”
Alarm suggestions to consider: rapid breathing with wheezing or snoring, his chest sinks when breathing, he has a constant temperature above 38 degrees, he has a runny nose, loss of appetite, he cannot drink or breastfeed, and he sees that he fell.
This is an acute lung infection that can be caused by bacteria or viruses. In general, this is a benign process, so most patients can be treated as an outpatient, but sometimes it can develop into a serious disease requiring hospitalization. “People over 65 years of age are the most affected group, and most of them suffer from severe forms of this pathology,” explains Valeria El Hadj.
The common cold is caused by various viruses, does not cause complications and does not require specific treatment. They develop to healing in about 7-10 days. Initial symptoms that appear after two to five days of incubation include nasal congestion, throat irritation, fever, coughing and sneezing.
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Prevention of respiratory diseases
In order to prevent respiratory diseases such as influenza, bronchiolitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, OSPEDYC notes that it is important to keep the vaccines included in the National Immunization Schedule up to date, including influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.
Additional preventive measures
The Ospedyc specialist offers a range of measures that go hand in hand with vaccination. Thus, it helps eliminate viruses that cause respiratory diseases. Measures include:
- Wash your hands with soap and water after coming home from outside, before preparing food or eating, and after going to the toilet or changing diapers.
- Ventilate all rooms daily.
- Do not smoke and keep a smoke-free environment.
- The use of over-the-counter drugs can cause poisoning and mask the symptoms of the disease, make it difficult to diagnose and worsen the clinical picture.
- Rest at home while symptoms persist.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue or the crook of your elbow to avoid infecting others.
Another big problem in winter is carbon monoxide poisoning, a silent enemy that appears in cold weather. To avoid poisoning, it must be taken into account that poor combustion of household appliances can cause poisoning and even death from carbon monoxide inhalation. The situation escalates in winter, when heaters and bracelets are turned on, and houses are no longer ventilated.
“It is very important to take all necessary measures to stop the circulation of viruses that cause respiratory diseases. In addition, carbon monoxide poisoning comes into play, which is 100% preventable with frequent ventilation of the premises. The key is ventilation, ensuring proper hand hygiene, and avoiding contact with people who have respiratory illnesses. In this way, we help destroy viruses and contribute to society in order to reduce the number of patients with some of these pathologies,” concludes the medical director of Obra Social del Personal de Entidades Deportivas y Civiles.