Cold season problems

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1. Overview


There are diseases that shows so close correlations with the season, that the season should be taken into account in terms of diagnosis. Thus we can talk about respiratory infections that worsen more seriously in winter compared to warmer seasons, when they are sporadic.

Respiratory infections are the most common products of pathogens with ” respiratory gateway” and airborne transmission, overcoming the local and general defense mechanisms.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Infectious pathology
3. Runny noses
4. Colds and flu
5. Prevention
6. Influenza vaccination
7. When is time to worry?
8. Treatment


2. Infectious pathology

Infectious pathology is among the richest of several reasons:
- Because of the many unusual infectious agents, especially viral, but not limited to;
- Due to mandatory exposure conditions to different unfavorable environmental conditions (cold, pollution, emissions – of which tobacco is first as frequency);
- Due to poor immunogenicity or very narrow as specificity, allowing the repetition of such respiratory infections, about 5-7 episodes per person per year with greater frequency in children and the elderly.


3. Runny noses

With the cold season, infections viruses are becoming more frequent, the cause of common cold. From the clinical point of view, the first priority is ‘runny noses’ which begins with coryza (inflammation of the lining of the nose) and rhinorrhea.

There are no reported complications in adults, but in children and the elderly, because poor immune system, is possible to occur a brooch or an acute bronchopneumonia.

Clinically, it cannot distinguish between diseases caused by adenoviruses, herpes viruses, ECHO viruses, rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses and respiratory syncytial viruses. In all, the first that occurs is the runny noses and sore throat. The onset is insidious, but disease duration is a few days.


4. Colds and flu

Both colds and flu cause sore throat, cough, stuffy nose. Although (usually) flu symptoms are more severe, the only way to distinguish them is laboratory tests: blood biochemistry (cold is accompanied by a slight neutrophilia, distinguished by this of flu that shows neutropenia) and nasopharyngeal secretions.

Influenza is caused by influenza viruses A, B and C, with an infinite capacity to mutate. Thus, if we are resistant to a certain strain, this does not mean that we are immune to others too. Flu spreads mostly in winter and can sometimes reach epidemic proportions. It spreads rapidly, especially in schools and institutions.

Usually, the flu begins with sneezing, chills, fever, muscle pain especially in legs and waist. Subsequently occur the sore throat and headache, dry cough, weakness, while skin becomes sensitive to touch. Typically, weakness persists for several weeks after symptoms have passed.

More serious cases may be very complicated and dangerous, so you should seek medical attention in these cases.


5. Prevention

It requires minimal training to prevent infections before the cold season:
- Healthy eating;
- Vitamins (vitamins C and E, flavonoids, selenium, zinc, beta-carotene);
- Daily exercise;
- Avoid fatigue and stress;
- Avoiding big crowds during flu season;
- Drinking hot tea.


6. Influenza vaccination

Influenza vaccination can shorten the disease and also can keep us away from complications. It is especially recommended for:
- People who are at increased risk of serious disease and those aged over 65;
- Patients with diseases of the heart, lung, liver, anemia or chronic kidney;
- People receiving treatment with corticosteroids or immunosuppressants;
- Those living in hostels or shelters;
- Staff in hospitals and clinics or other institutions.


7. When is time to worry?

- When symptoms persist or worsen after a week or return after 2-4 weeks;
- When expectorating phlegm changes color, becoming green or yellow, or, worse, with blood;
- When there is a chest pain or shortness of breath;
- When you feel stiff neck, headache persists and becomes unbearable or hate the light; also, if you experience confusion or hives.


8. Treatment

The main components of treatment, especially in epidemic periods are:
- Rapid isolation of patients with influenza and limiting access to public places;
- Hygienic-dietary treatment (bed rest throughout the febrile period, hydro-lacto-sugar diet, oral hygiene with chamomile tea);
- Antipyretic, painkiller, antitussive, expectorant and nasal treatment;
- Continuous clinical surveillance to capture the occurrence of any complications;

Treat the flu seriously to prevent complications and, more important, stay home to avoid spreading the infection!

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