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Year after year, Bangladesh finds itself woefully unprepared to face the winter chill.
People living in vulnerable areas, particularly in rural parts of the country, have been adversely affected by the cold wave sweeping through Bangladesh, with the temperature dipping as low as 5.5 degrees Celsius as recorded in Chuadanga and 2.6 in Panchagar on Monday.
Bangladesh is not a cold-prone nation, which may explain why we are never ready for lower temperatures, and are hence caught off-guard during the cold season.
A few years ago, some 80 people died in Syedpur as a result of the weather — these are deaths that could have been prevented if the government had taken advance measures to combat the cold.
When it comes to blanket distribution drives, it is imperative to make sure those blankets reach the most remote and poverty-stricken areas, and that resources are not pocketed by unscrupulous middle-men.
Right now, a cold wave is sweeping through Rangpur, Rajshahi, and Khulna divisions, with cases of cold-related ailments like pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory diseases being reported from across the country.
Unfortunately, many resort to burning dry leaves and branches to stay warm, which pollutes the air and creates even more health problems in the long run.
Reducing people’s misery in the winter is a worthy goal, and to that end, we hope the government plans in advance and does all that it can to bring the casualty number down to zero.
Moreover, with temperatures dipping and a cold wave sweeping throughout the country, ailments common to winter are rising, especially among children.
Children are mainly coming with complaints of respiratory troubles, fever, runny nose, sore throat.
Often these respiratory problems, when left undiagnosed, develop into secondary infections thus resulting in Pneumonia, one of the deadliest of childhood diseases.
It is very important that parents immediately address respiratory problems in children, especially among infants to help prevent Pneumonia.
There are also frequent complaints of loose motion, cold diarrhea, vomiting and skin problems such as rash, scabies and so on. Dermatological problems see a surge in winter as many children do not shower regularly or do not even want to change clothes resulting in skin problems.
Parents should take special care to ensure respiratory troubles are addressed immediately. To avoid skin troubles, regular change of clothes and moisturising the skin after bathing is needed. Early diagnosis and warm water with lemon and honey may ease respiratory troubles.
Overall, Bangladesh has been blessed with a good climate, and our winters are relatively short. Let us take care of our people in this time.