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Changing temps bring sickness

Jan. 30, 1997

By Melissa Harlow

Lariat Reporter

With temperatures reaching the mid-70s last week, not even meteorologists anticipated a cold front lurking in the forecast. After all, there are not many environments where the winter wardrobe requires shorts and T-shirts mixed with sweaters, gloves and heavy woolen coats.

As the saying goes, if you don't like the weather in Texas, stick around for five minutes and it's bound to change. But many students were not expecting it to change every day this week.

For University students, along with knowing which side of the closet to pull from comes knowing how to stay healthy during the changing weather.

'Changing weather will affect everyone,' said Dr. Camellia Dikstriem, a Waco physician. 'Extreme conditions can make already prone patients even worse. Changing weather from cold to warm creates more breeding ground for bacteria.'

In a normal bronchial tube, there is no swelling, and air can move freely in and out of the tube. When there is an infection, the lining of the tube gets very swollen and plugged up with mucus. Symptoms include coughing, a burning sensation in the lungs, draining and congestion.

'The problem can be more serious for people with allergies or asthma,' Dikstriem said.

Bronchial tubes are already swollen in those afflicted by allergies and asthma, and when they are exposed to cold air, it makes the bronchial tubes go into spasm, Dikstriem said.

'It is easy to get an infection, and if left alone, it can cause pneumonia,' Dikstriem said.

Most infections can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications.

'Temperatures are bound to shift again, and this changing weather is to blame for making people more susceptible to bronchial infection,' said Crystal Wolf, a News 25 weekend reporter.

Students should reduce their exposure to sudden temperature changes as much as possible and dress properly, according to weather conditions, Wolf said.

Staying healthy is just as important as going to class.

'If you begin running a fever or have a green or yellowish mucus film, it's time to see your doctor,' Wolf said.

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