The Ministry of Public Health has warned the general public of the increasing risk of catching a cold and influenza due to the drop in temperature, urging them to follow the same precautionary measures against COVID-19 to protect themselves against other respiratory diseases, while warning the public not to drink alcohol to keep warm or light a lantern or stove inside a tent.
The Ministry of Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit has advised the general public that winter is typically a peak season for influenza, the symptoms of which are similar to COVID-19, which is seeing a fresh outbreak in many provinces, making these two diseases difficult distinguish.
He has advised the public to follow the same preventative measures as they do against COVID-19, to protect themselves from influenza and other respiratory diseases, from mask wearing, to good hand hygiene, social distancing, and avoiding the sharing personal items.
Dr. Kiattiphum has debunked misunderstandings commonly spread during winter, one of which is the practice of drinking alcohol to keep the body warm. He said the warming sensation from alcohol consumption is only temporary, as a result from a heat transfer from widening of capillaries, which is actually causing the body temperature to drop.
He said this condition, coupled with the cold weather, could be fatal when the body is exposed to cold weather for a prolonged period of time, such as when sleeping.
He has also warned against the use of oil lanterns or coal stoves inside a tent due to the fire hazard, and the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions from these devices which can cause oxygen deprivation in the body, leading to unconsciousness or death.
The Ministry of Public Health Permanent Secretary recommends that everyone wears warm clothes, refrains from sleeping in the open air, eats nutritious meals, exercises regularly, drinks 6-8 glass of water each day, avoids bathing or showering with water that is too warm, and apply some lotion to dry skin. (NNT)