MANALI (NITIN SHARMA): Winter in Manali is very special, a season shrouded in snow. Warm memories of times around the tandoor, sunshine on snowbanks. Time to sit together, share tea, and develop friendships.
At the same time, the season can be treacherous for the elderly, and the young. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the second highest killer in Himachal Pradesh. The elderly who have weak lungs due to many years of smoking, and the very young are the most susceptible.
Dr Philip Alexander and Dr Anna from Lady Willingdon Hospital, Manali, forewarn:
The low temperatures, combined with irritants as tandoor smoke contribute in triggering infections in the lung, which becomes pneumonia, necessitating hospital admission and may even lead to loss of life.
The elderly and the very young consequently must be protected over the winter. Adequate clothing, maintaining their temperature, and minimizing exposure to tandoor smoke for those with pre-existing respiratory illness can help prevent the initiation of this cycle.
Good nutrition and regular meals also help maintain the immunity of the body to fight infections.
Tuberculosis is another illness that spreads in winter. Predominantly spread by droplet infection, the practice of everyone being together in one room which has the tandoor spreads this infection from one family member to others who do not have the disease.
To prevent this, those infected with tuberculosis should wear masks and preferably have their own room with separate heating, if possible.
So this winter, be safe, stay warm, and enjoy the pleasures that snow brings to Manali.