The Weather and Your Health

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Current weather conditions in the UAE can impact the body on many levels and can trigger off colds, flu, sinusitis, and other allergic conditions, such as asthma. Dr. Trilok Chand, Specialist in Respiratory Medicine, has some simple recommendations to help keep you and your family protected during the summer.

Ear Infections
A cool, refreshing swim is a perfect antidote for a hot summer day in the UAE. However, swimming pools are hotbeds for germs that cause colds and flu. These bugs thrive in hot, humid, and wet conditions and pose a risk not just to children, but also adults. Often water gets trapped in the ears after swimming, and if not drained, can be the perfect environment for germs. Once the infection sets in, children and adults could experience ear pain and other symptoms.

The best way to avoid such infections is to use a clean swimming pool that is maintained regularly. It is also important that children use ear plugs while swimming. Don’t allow your child
to go swimming if he/she has a cold or cough. Also, increase your child’s vitamin C intake, particularly during the season to protect them from such infections. A course of antibiotics could also be prescribed to prevent the spread of the infection, based on the doctor’s advice.

Summer Colds 
In the summer, colds are usually caused by the Rhino viruses and Enteroviruses. Enterovirus infection can have more severe, flu-like symptoms, in addition to sneezing and coughing. Summer colds can be spread by people sneezing and coughing and through direct contact with germ-ridden surfaces. Enteroviruses are also linked to symptoms such as diarrhea, sore throat, rashes, and body aches.

However, the best way to deal with colds is to keep well hydrated, so that nasal passages and the throat remain moist. Use an antibacterial lotion after touching surfaces such as toilet handles or doorknobs, or wash your hands often, and step outdoors to get some fresh air, especially if you have a sedentary job. Ensure that you get enough vitamins, especially vitamins E and C, to build your immunity. Avoid going to crowded places to avoid getting infected, or spreading the infection if you are sick.

Asthma
Constant changes in air quality (humidity) and increased pollen, mold spores, and dust mites in the air, commonly seen in summer, can trigger an asthma attack. They can irritate the airways
and lungs, causing inflammation, spasms, and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Installing a dehumidifier at home or workplace is a good initiative. People prone to asthma should avoid being outdoors too much, and should keep windows at home closed to stop pollen and dust from coming in. Airconditioning systems should also be wellmaintained to ensure a steady supply of clean air, which will also keep mold spores at bay. Air purifiers are also helpful in improving the indoor air quality.

 

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