The India Meteorological Department has issued a release stating that severe cold wave conditions are expected in north Rajasthan and
Punjab, isolated pockets over Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and north Madhya Pradesh for the next three days. People in Punjab, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand can expect dense fog in the early morning.
Such weather conditions bring not just chill, but can also impact our health in multiple ways. Here are a few things you should be careful of, not just during the cold wave, but throughout the harsh winters of north, northwest and northeast India:
• An increased likelihood of various illnesses like flu, running/stuffy nose or nosebleed, which usually set in or get aggravated due to prolonged exposure to cold.
• Do not ignore shivering. It is the first sign that the body is losing heat. In that case, get indoors as fast as possible.
• Frostbite can occur due to prolonged exposure to cold. The skin turns pale, hard and numb and eventually black blisters appear on exposed body parts such as fingers, toes, nose and or earlobes. Severe frostbite needs immediate medical attention and treatment.
Dense fog, too, can adversely impact your body, especially for people with respiratory diseases:
• Lung-related health issues: Dense fog contains particulate matter and other pollutants and in case exposed, it gets lodged in the lungs, clogging them and decreasing their functional capacity which increases episodes of wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
• Impact on people having asthma bronchitis: Long time exposure to dense fog may cause respiratory problem for people having asthma bronchitis and other lung-related health problems.
• Dense fog: Contains pollutions of various types and these pollutants in the air if exposed may tend to irritate the membranes of the eye causing various infections leading to redness or swelling of the eye.
There are things you can do counter them and keep yourself immune:
• Moisturise your skin regularly with oil/cream.
• Eat vitamin-C rich fruits and vegetables and drink sufficient fluids preferably warm fluids to maintain adequate immunity.
• Keep dry, if wet, change clothes immediately to prevent loss of body heat. Wear insulated/waterproof shoes.
• Warm the affected area of the body slowly with lukewarm water; do not rub the skin vigorously.
• If the affected skin area turns black, immediately consult a doctor.
• Maintain ventilation while using heaters to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
• Take safety measures while using electrical and gas heating devices.
• For those with respiratory issues, avoid going out until unless there is an emergency, and cover the face when you do.