Due to the cold wave sweeping over the country, children and adults are more at risks of cold-related illnesses, because babies lose body heat more easily and older adults generally have less body heat. Antioxidant and protein diets together with physical activities would keep people healthy and warm in winter. Seasonal vegetables are also good sources of antioxidant diets, doctors said.
Staying away from dusts and smoke was also advised as exposure to polluted air could cause asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases, In winter, infants and the elderly people don’t need to take bath every day and application of body oil should also be avoided, doctors advised. Common cold, acute respiratory infection, asthma, COPD, pneumonia, cold diarrhea and skin diseases increase in Bangladesh during winter.
Hospitals in Dhaka and other parts of the country already witnessed a surge of patients affected by cold-related diseases. Hospitals’ Outpatient Departments are crowded with patients, especially the children and the elderly. According to the Health Services at least 5,485 people took treatment for cold related diseases in 24 hours ending 8am Monday, 928 with acute respiratory infection and 1,887 diarrhea patients.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital pediatric resident physician Rajesh Majumder advised parents to ensure that infants ‘don’t sleep in cold rooms and to cover them with warm clothes. He said that there was no need to bathe children or apply body oil on them every day. Breastfeeding of infants is crucial while younger children should be given milk and protein rich foods to boost their immune system against cold related diseases, Rajesh said.
He said the winter brings notorious cold diarrhea for children as this type of diarrhea usually lingers when normal oral saline often prove not so effective.
Food hygiene should be maintained and warm foods should be served to children during winter, he said, adding, doctors should be consulted whenever children suffer cold diarrhea.
At DMCH pediatric OPD about 90 per cent of the patients are children suffering from cold related diseases. Children with acute respiratory infection, common cold, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and some cases of measles are coming to the DMCH pediatric OPD, said Rajesh. On Sunday, about 500 diarrhea patients took treatment and most of them were cold diarrhea patients. The respiratory OPD at DMCH also treated an increased number of patients, officials said.
Medical officer Laila Arjuman said mostly patients with breathing complications due to cold, asthma, COPD, respiratory infection, pneumonia and lung infection visited the DMCH Respiratory OPD over the last few days. Laila said, family members older than 60 should be under strict supervisions so that they are covered by proper warm clothes and also not to let the expose to cold weather.
BIRDEM chief of nutrition Shamsunnaher Mohua Nahid said boosting immunity during winter is important to keep diseases at bay. She advised antioxidant and protein-rich foods including winter vegetables and milk, fish, eggs. Shamsunnaher said foods should be cooked with more oil during winter and liquid foods and fresh water would keep people healthy in the winter.
Winter vegetables can be roasted, mashed or used to make soup for comfortable winter meals for the whole family, she said. During winter, regular exercise helps control not only body weight, but also to boost immune system and keep the cold at bay, Shamsunnaher said.