The temperature gradually decreases, giving way to shorter days, chilly winds and harsh weather. It is important to be aware of the chronic respiratory illnesses that can become more prevalent during winter. Moreover, chronic respiratory illnesses also tend to aggravate and chronic conditions become acute, often leading to fatality if left unattended. Therefore, it is imperative to know how to recognise them and seek treatment if needed.
Why do chronic respiratory illnesses witness a spike during winters?
- Pathogens and microbes tend to thrive in cold temperatures with low humidity
- The amount of exposure to pathogens increases during this period.
- The air is colder and drier, which makes it more difficult to breathe.
- Additionally, many people tend to spend more time indoors during winter, which can increase the risk of respiratory infections.
The five chronic respiratory conditions that are most common worldwide are:
- Acute Bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Acute Bronchitis occurs when bronchi or tubes that bring in air to the lungs get inflamed due to the overproduction of mucus. It aggravates a chronic condition if persistent for more than three months.
Causes: Smoking, air pollution, allergens
Acute bronchitis symptoms include:
- Persistent cough
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Chest discomfort and breathing difficulties
- Aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
If you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks, produces bloody or discoloured mucous, or is paired with a fever, and have a prognosis pointing towards acute bronchitis, it is wise to seek a second opinion. While searching for the best pulmonologist near me, you can get a second opinion on improving healthcare, reducing costs and making an informed decision regarding acute bronchitis treatment itinerary. Prevent the risk of lung damage with easy access, affordable and convenient e-consultation with the best pulmonologist doctor at SeekMed.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person through tiny droplets.
Causes: Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air while coughing, speaking, sneezing, spitting, laughing or singing.
Tuberculosis symptoms include:
- Coughing for three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
It is important to note that even though contagious, it is highly likely for a person to get tuberculosis from someone they live with or from work rather than a stranger. For instance, there are less chances of a person being infected by sitting next to an infected person on, for instance, a bus or train. On the other hand, the person may become positive for TB, by spending prolonged periods in close contact with an infected friend, relative, co-worker etc.
HIV and TB
TB cases have spiked since the 1980s owing to the rapid spread of HIV-AIDS. The causative retrovirus attacks the immune system and suppresses it, making it difficult for the body to control TB bacteria. The disease can progress from latent TB to active TB as compared to HIV negative people.
Over time, some TB microbes have developed the ability to resist drug medications. This is partly because people don’t take their drugs as directed or don’t complete the course of treatment.
For a comprehensive second opinion and better TB treatment recommendation, it is wise to search ‘chest specialist near me’ on your device.
Pneumonia is a bacterial lung infection where the air sacs get filled with pus and other liquids. The severity of the diseaseranges from mild to life-threatening.
Causes: It is majorly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In other cases, it may be due to a weakened immune system as a result of surgery, illness, age or smoking.
- High fever
- Mucous-filled coughs
- Heavy sweating
- Breathing difficulties
- Stabbing chest pain which aggravates with coughing or sneezing
If you cough up pus which gets worse or doesn’t improve or have a persistent fever higher than 102 degrees despite treatment, don’t delay a second opinion. Consult a top-notch pulmonologist doctor for better treatment options by searching ‘ pulmonologist near me’ for better treatment options.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
As the name suggests it is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Causes: Though tobacco smoking is the primary causative factor, people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes are also among those affected.
Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chest tightness
- A chronic cough that may produce mucous (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish
- Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
This virus-borne disease is most prevalent during winters and causes lung problems. It is highly likely to have a severe effect on children as compared to adults and senior citizens.
RSV symptoms include:
- Severe cough.
- Wheezing — a high-pitched noise that’s usually heard when breathing out.
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing – a person may prefer to sit up rather than lie down.
- Bluish colour of the skin, or cyanosis, due to lack of oxygen.
If you have a chronic respiratory condition, make sure to seek a second opinion with the best pulmonologist doctor in India through e-consultation. SeekMed offers fast and easy access to award-winning doctors along with affordable quality care ensuring a better chronic respiratory disease treatment.