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Today’s Common & Serious Conditions | Winter Ailments


tiredness, chills, a chesty cough, blocked nose and loss of appetite. Many of the available treatment options are the same as for the cold. Staying hydrated and well rested are the most important things you can do, whilst painkillers can reduce discomfort and lower a high temperature. People at greater risk (such as


FLU


Although symptoms are often similar to the cold, albeit more severe, influenza (flu) is caused by a different group of viruses. Symptoms include a fever, headache, aching muscles,


Norovirus


Despite its reputation as the dreaded winter vomiting bug, it is possible to contract the norovirus all year round, however, it remains more common during the winter months. The highly contagious virus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, causing vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, a high temperature, aching limbs and stomach cramps. Other than a risk of dehydration, the norovirus is not dangerous, and most people will make a full recovery within a few days. Here are some measures you can take to minimise discomfort and avoid spreading the infection:


1. Drink fl uids: The main risk of the norovirus is the possibility of dehydration. If you experience


pregnant women, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system) may be offered the antiviral medications Tamifl u or Relenza. Although these medications will not cure fl u, they will prevent the virus from multiplying in the body, reducing the severity of symptoms. Due to the seasonal nature of the virus, fl u vaccinations are available on the NHS every winter for anyone in these high-risk groups.


lightheadedness, a dry mouth and eyes, dark concentrated urine and a headache when infected, it is likely that you are dehydrated. Drinking plenty of fl uids (even when vomiting continues)—and in severe cases rehydration sachets—can solve this. 2. Eat easily digestible foods: You may not feel like eating at all when you have the norovirus, but when you do eat, choose foods that are easily digestible, like rice, soup, pasta and bread. 3. Stay at home: If you have the norovirus, you should avoid contact with others as far as possible so as not to spread the infection. Once you are infected, there is little your GP can do so it is best to stay home from work or school and rest. It is recommended that you stay at home until 48 hours after symptoms have passed and you are no longer contagious.


celebrityangels.co.uk ASTHMA


For the UK’s 5.4 million asthma sufferers, cold weather is a key trigger for asthma attacks. Inhaling cold air can lead to wheezing and shortness of breath, while contracting a cold or fl u virus can also make asthma signifi cantly worse. However, there are a number of steps you can take to manage asthma over the winter season:


 Take preventer medicines: It is very important that asthma sufferers take their preventer medications


diligently during winter. This will minimise the likelihood of attacks triggered by the cold weather.


 Use a reliever inhaler: If you know that the cold air worsens your asthma symptoms, take a puff of your reliever inhaler before going outside in winter. Make sure you also carry it with you at all times and take an extra puff before exercising in cold weather.  Keep warm: It is especially important for asthma sufferers to wrap up warm during the


winter—particularly around the chest and throat area— and to take extra precautions


when exercising.


DEAR DOCTOR WITH DR CHRIS STEELE 21


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