True winter weather has been ruling in Latvia for the past two weeks. Air temperature drops as far as -25° C at times. Pharmacists remind that precautions should be taken in order to avoid hypothermia and catching any respiratory tract infections when staying outside for extended periods of time.
A healthy diet and no ‘hunger games’
Pharmacists recommend consuming more natural anti-oxidants and vitamins during winter. «It is especially important to maintain a healthy balance in your organism during winter. Because of that, avoid weakening your body with different restrictive diets. It weakens the body’s immune system and lowers the body’s natural defences. In addition, when it’s cold, our body uses more energy than usual. With that, it would be best to eat smaller meals but more often,» – recommends Mēness aptieka’s pharmacist Baiba Gutmane.
Warm your body from the inside
Low temperature is a source of stress for our bodies. Don’t forget about warm meals and liquids before and after going outside. «If you’re going skiing or for a walk, take a thermos with hot, sweet tea with you. It will help you warm up! Don’t use alcohol! Its use can cause headaches and chills very quickly. Alcohol expands blood vessels at first, yes. But blood vessels become narrow soon after. This only increases the risk of hypothermia,» – says Gutmane.
Children and seniors are a risk group
Children and seniors should be supervised very closely during winter. Pharmacists remind that it is not recommended to take newborns and children under the age of 2 for long walks outside, especially if air temperature is below -10° C. Check the child’s hands every 10-15 minutes. Problems with thermal regulation also affect old people. «Children fall ill much quicker than adults. This is because they lose warms and energy much quicker as well. Parents should be especially careful if their child complains about burning or tingling sensation in hands and feet. It is best to use water of 32° C to 36° C to warm hands and feet. Don’t forget about hot tea – it will help warm the body from the inside and improve blood flow,» – recommends the pharmacist.
Hypothermia – the beginning of problems with urinary system
Pharmacists and doctors warn that winter joy and cold can provoke hypothermia, respiratory tract infections and problems with the urinary system. «The cold does not cause infection. It does contribute to progress of different infections. Stress, low temperatures and overworking lowers the body’s immune system and opens the way for viruses and bacteria. Cold weather most often affects diabetes patients, people who had undergone surgery in their urinary tract, people with overall weakened organism and women. This most often leads to infections of the urinary tract,» – says intern doctor of Health Centres Association Anna Aleksandrova.
Infection and inflammation appear when bacteria enter the urinary bladder and start multiplying faster than they are flushed out of the organism.
In order to get rid of inflammation, pharmacists recommend consuming herbal teas and cranberries. «It will help limit the spread of bacteria and flush them out of the organism. Cranberries make the pH of urine more acidic. It will also speed up the flushing of magnesium and potassium out of the body thereby reducing the risk of formation of stones in the urinary tract. Cranberry extract also contains different medicinal syrups and vitamins,» – notes Gutmane.