HOME > Lifestyle > Severe winter could increase Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: how to treat and avoid them

Severe winter could increase Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: how to treat and avoid them


Severe winter could increase Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: how to treat and avoid them

Email Print

Global Warming has led to the rapid melting of Arctic ice. Rising temperatures at the North Pole could disrupt the entire weather-circulation pattern, and bring cold air down from the north. Accordingly, the Hong Kong Observatory expects a particularly severe winter in Hong Kong this year.

When you feel tired or fatigued on a chilly day, chances are that an URTI may be affecting you. What is this?


Acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are a very common form of sickness. The common cold, flu, nasopharyngitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis can all be classified as URTIs. Some 90 percent of all such cases are viral in origin, with symptoms including a runny or stuffy nose, a cough and a sore throat. They can cause fatigue, body aches, headaches or fever, and could last from one to seven days. However, most people recover from them completely in one to two weeks.

URTIs are common, but that doesn’t mean that you should underestimate them. These maladies can induce other illnesses, such as otitis media, the symptoms of which can include persistent high fever and earache; sinusitis with thick yellow or green phlegm, coughing, severe nasal congestion and headaches; or pneumonia, which also induces high fever, frequent coughing, shortness of breath and loss of appetite. An even worse outcome would be meningitis, involving a stiff neck, sharp headaches, vomiting, sensitivity to bright light, persistent high fever and, in severe cases, mental confusion.

Healthcare Tips

A balanced diet, regular exercise, enough rest and stress relief, as well as a smoke-free lifestyle, can all help enhance your resistance to URTIs. Simple dietetic recipes can also play a part in preventing these sicknesses.

lemonDuring the autumn and winter seasons, drink pear or loquat leaves in soup as this will quench your thirst, dissolve thick mucus and take away the excess heat in your body.

Lemons, which are rich in Vitamin C, are another good choice for preventing URTIs. Just squeeze half a lemon, and mix the juice with a spoonful of honey. Continue drinking a cup of warm lemon-juice and honey after meals until your condition improves. This will not only quench your thirst and reduce your coughing, but also increase your appetite and strengthen your body.

Another beneficial drink is hot, salty lemon tea. Prepare two fresh lemon slices and a spoonful of salt, mixing them well in hot water and serving it warm. Re-fill your cup twice (no need to add salt when re-filling), and take three cups a day. This will help you breathe better, and dissolve thick mucus.

As for food recipes, lentil and barley porridge is recommended. Make the porridge with half a bowl of lentils and half a bowl of barley. Eat the porridge for breakfast and dinner, as both lentils and barley can help increase your appetite and remove the undesired heat and moisture from your body, as well as promote nutrient absorption and enhance your resistance to cold.

Academic research overseas has discovered that the golden-kiwi fruit can help mitigate symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches, as well as shorten recovery time.

Simple recipes can help you minimize the chances of getting these sicknesses!