16th Nov, 2022
The change of seasons affects our moods and health. Cough and cold are common with the advent of a new season. It is easy to succumb to these seasonal bouts, hence, before we go any further, let us understand why the seasonal change in temperature affects some of us more than others.
Change of season requires special precaution for many of us suffering from chronic cough & cold. You may boost your immunity with vitamin-rich food, but with the approaching season change, you end up with a scratchy throat, watery eyes, incessant sneezing, and tissue-soaked runny nose. In other words, you are indisposed to step out of the house, thanks to this tiresome cold.
Why do you get chronic cough & cold when seasons change?
Experts believe that multiple factors cause common cold and cough, such as environmental changes, low immunity or being prone to allergy. Let us evaluate the causes of chronic cough in winter and other seasons.
With seasonal changes, there is a temperature difference. This temperature change provides an ideal climate for pathogens to thrive, which increases illness that spreads across a larger population. Therefore, it is not the weather, but the pathogens that flourish in an ideal temperature, which is responsible for increasing illnesses during a seasonal change.
Viral respiratory pathogens multiply during wintertime. The influenza virus gets more active in the winter and thrives in cold, dry conditions. Common cold reaches its second peak in springtime. Human rhinovirus infection is strikingly high during the autumn season. These are the months most afflicted with seasonal allergies, and challenge a person's vulnerability to combat infection.
Nasal infections, followed by throat infections, are the first to strike with seasonal change, and experts feel that viruses find it easy to invade the nose and throat. A Yale University study reveals that a sudden drop in ambient temperature can beat the body's ability to cope with the temperature variation or stop pathogens from proliferating. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, says that when the temperature drops by a few degrees, the immune system offers the right conditions for the virus to multiply and replicate.
The weather shift conspires with many factors, causing chronic cough in winters. Cold is caused by multiple viruses like the human coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, and several others. If the body becomes immune to one type of virus, there might be another type or mutation of virus that may attack the body and cause infection.
Who are the most affected by the seasonal chronic cough & cold?
According to WHO, pregnant women, children under 59 months and elderly individuals with medical conditions are most susceptible to chronic cough & cold. Added to this list are healthcare workers exposed to influenza viruses. Transmission is generally from crowded areas, when people sneeze or cough and disperse affected water droplets in the air.
Six out of eight preschool children are prone to cold every year. Children are the key drivers of community transmission carrying the viruses home. Workplaces with poor ventilation allow the right climate for viruses to thrive.
In temperate climates, seasonal cough and cold happen during winter, in the tropical region, this is an all-year-round illness. The incubation period or the period at which the infection sets in for a person to fall ill, is within 2-4 days.
Allergies are a common cause of cough and cold
If your cold happens every year at the same time, your doctor will tell you that you are prone to allergies from seasonal change. Though the symptoms of allergy are like chronic cough & cold, this is a different ailment. Allergies occur from an overactive immune system. When your body detects dust, pollen, and other allergens, it mistakes them for germs and launches an attack. The body responds by releasing histamine, the same way it prepares to fight against cold-causing pathogens. The nasal passageway swells and increases coughing and sneezing.
Allergies are not contagious. Common cold follows different medication, while seasonal allergies are treated by antihistamines, decongestants like nasal drops and sprays, and cough syrups for the throat.
As per reports, in India, 18.09% of teens below 19 years are most prone to allergies, followed by young adults from 20-29 years. Allergies happen less to older adults. 13.81% of seniors over 60 years are prone to allergies.
You can check if you are suffering from a cold or allergy from this Mayo Clinic chart. Of course, showing to a doctor is the best way to determine, but on a broader scale, cold can lasts from 3-14 days, while allergies can last for a day or stretch for a month, if you are still in contact with the source. Allergies happen all round-the-year while, while seasonal allergies are subject to seasonal change. Allergy symptoms surface as soon as it is triggered. If the symptoms prolong beyond two weeks, you must visit a doctor.
The first line of treatment against chronic cough & cold or allergies
Keep the nose area warm, take rest, maintain good hygiene, eat a healthy and protein-rich diet, keep isolated, and drink plenty of warm fluids. Liberally include remedies like tulsi, honey and ginger in your diet. Inhale steam and use saline nasal spray or drops to decongest stuffy nose. Also keep a bottle of natural cough syrup handy. Cofsils Naturals Cough Syrup or lozenges is endowed with a 3-way action against cough, cold, and sore throat which acts within 15 minutes. This alcohol-free syrup is natural and safe for both children and adults. Putting an end to your suffering, this herbal remedy will get you on your feet in no time.