Cold, dry skin are common ailments in winter season

Nada S. Mussallam (Our staff reporter)
Filed on January 2, 2008

ABU DHABI — Winters in the UAE are usually liked by people for cool and balmy evenings and bright, sunny days. It is also the time for festivities as most people tend to eat out more and enjoy the pleasant weather.

Winter could also be a time of illness if people fail to take adequate health and safety precautions.

With the onset of low temperatures, the season is accompanied with a lot of health risks which, if ignored, might aggravate and confine people to bed and restrict their outdoor activities.

According to medical experts and nutrition specialists, colds characterised by repeated violent sneezing, running nose, irritation within the nose and itchy feeling, in addition to cough, are the common ailments in winter.

Another problem that winter brings with it is dryness of skin, they said.

Weak immune system could aggravate winter ailments and make people easily yield to health complications, they cautioned.

“People must keep their immunity in good condition by eating nutritious food, getting daily dose of exercise and sleeping well,” advised Dr Ayham Al Karami, E.N.T. specialist at Al Noor Hospital.

He said during this time of the year people should stay away from people who are suffering from cold and drink plenty of fluids and water if they catch cold.

“A person with cold must take plenty of rest, keep his body well covered and protected from the cold all the time as exposure to cold aggravates the condition. People should also avoid irritants like smoking, including passive smoking,” said Dr Karami.

Boost your immunity

Dr Dalia Mohammed Al Mouzayen, nutritionist and dietician at the Health Quest Clinic said with the change of season, it is the time to stock up on lots of immunity-boosting nutrients. “People must ensure intake of vitamin A because it is required for fighting infectious diseases by keeping mucous membranes in tact and increasing anti-body response to invading pathogens,” she said.

This vitamin is found in coloured vegetables and fruits, dairy products, fish and liver, she said.

Zinc which supports immunity and wounds healing, and is found in seafood, meat, poultry, beans, nuts and whole grains, is also good for boosting the immunity. “Iron, which is required for making the immune fighting cells and keeping energy levels high. Iron is present in red meat, legumes, green veggies and dried figs,” said Dr Mouzayen.

Dry skin

Regarding rough skin, Dr Khalid Othman, dermatologist, advised that people should avoid harsh medicated soaps and those which are highly perfumed. “Detergents are also very harsh for the skin so people should avoid putting their hands in soapy water and drink plenty of water and use an effective moisturiser.

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