Dealing With Asthma and Rhinitis in Cold Weather

How does an asthmatic or rhinitis sufferer (allergic and non-allergic) deal with the rainy, cold weather we have experienced recently?

The meteorological department said the rainy season, which began in August, will end in October so we should brace ourselves for more cold, which is a trigger for asthma and rhinitis. Non-allergic rhinitis is chronic sneezing or a drippy nose with no known cause, according to Allergic rhinitis involves sneezing and a runny nose, among other symptoms, resulting from breathing in allergens such as dust and cold air.

Pamela Namaganda, who suffers from allergic rhinitis, says she keeps as warm as she can – sweaters, a scarf and warm shoes – during the cold weather. Denise Namanya and Alexandra Semanda, who both suffer from allergic rhinitis, say they take cups of tea and herbs to keep warm and manage the allergic rhinitis respectively.

Martha Kasozi, who suffers from exercise- and allergy-induced asthma, says she uses a Viani Forte inhaler (which might need to be prescribed). While Namaganda, Namanya, Semanda and Kasozi have found ways to manage their illnesses, some individuals may not have been so successful.

Health practitioners tip on how to handle asthma and rhinitis below.

Salt droppers

It sounds fancy but a salt dropper is nothing more than a salt solution you drop in your nose using your clean finger. Dr Vincent Karuhanga of Friends Polyclinic says that to make salt drops, one should “add a tablespoon of salt to a tumpeco [mug] of water and one should use one’s finger to drop this solution into the nose. The solution acts as both a preventive and curative solution.”

Dress warm and avoid boda-boda rides

Dr Diana Nasike says it is prudent to avoid rhinitis triggers, though that may not be entirely possible.

What can you do to try to beat the cold?

Nasike aises: “Wear jackets, socks, closed shoes, gloves and head gear [like a scarf, such as the one Muslims wear].”

Nasike also aises against taking cold or refrigerated drinks and foodstuffs – drinks at room temperature, tea or warm water should be substituted for cold drinks. Karuhanga aises against boda-boda rides in the morning or during cold weather as these expose one to allergens.

Avoid smoking and treat infections

Karuhanga aises against smoking for asthmatics and rhinitis sufferers. This is because smoking will burden the already asthma- or rhinitis-burdened respiratory system. Infections should be treated as viral infections such as colds (also known as flu in Uganda) can trigger attacks in asthmatics.

Herbal medicine

Dr Grace Nambatya, the director of research, Natural Chemotherapeutics Laboratory, says herbal remedies for allergies do exist.

“We have tested a number of [herbal] products and they have been validated,” Nambatya says.

Some of these products can be bought from Genapo information centre in Wandegeya and on Luwum street, Universal building. It is aisable to take these herbs continually.

“When you are faced with the allergen when you have been taking the herbs, you will be g,” Anette Twebuze, a herbalist with allergy and asthma herbs, says.

Karuhanga says, however, one should not self-prescribe as some medicines and herbs result in side effects accruing from prolonged use.

Source : The Observer

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