While we're all excited about the New Year, we're also right in the middle of winter - and along with it a swarm of winter illnesses. Dr. Alamelu on the common winter illnesses and what you can do to stay healthy.
Doctor's offices, urgent cares, ERs, and every medical facility fills up fast this time of the year. In fact illness-related work and school absences peaks in January. Here are the most common winter illnesses that you should watch out for.
For many people, asthma attacks may happen more often in the winter. Asthma is a "disease that wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing." according to the CDC. It's more common in children but adults can have asthma too. Unfortunately, cold weather can be a trigger for asthmatic symptoms because it's harder to breathe. The arrival of winter also increases the risk of an asthma attack. You can protect yourself by visiting your doctor to ensure that your asthma is under control, even if you haven't had a flare up in long time.
Bronchitis is a lung infection that involves the inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs. Common symptoms are fever, chills, chest congestion, and shortness of breath. It's super common in the winter because it's caused by the same viruses that cause a cold or the flu, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The Common Cold Colds are among the most common winter illnesses. Colds are viral infections and common symptoms are runny noses, nasal congestion, sore throats, coughs, or headaches. You may also have a low grade fever. Colds are caused by many different types of virus and can occur year round, although they are most prominent in the winter. The key to getting over most viral infections like colds is to rest, de-stress, and consuming plenty of liquids until the virus passes.
The Flu Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, usually comes on quickly with a high fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches and pains. Typically peaks in January through February. There are some antiviral medications available to help fight the flu; however, these mediations only shorten illness duration by 1-2 days and must be started promptly to be helpful. Generally, these medications are only recommended to avoid more serious complications because of the flu. The best way to avoid this illness in yourself and your family is to make sure everyone gets their annual flu vaccine. Local clinics like Prognify Urgent Care and Walk-in Clinic carry the flu vaccine and provide shots on a walk-in basis.
Pneumonia Unlike the many other common winter illness, pneumonia is often caused by a bacterial infection. Pneumonia can present itself in many different ways. Sometimes it starts as a cold that just continues to worsen, other times it will seem to get better then suddenly worsen again. If a cold persists for several days and you suddenly develop a high fever and worsening cough, this could be a sign of pneumonia. Any time there is trouble breathing you should seek a prompt healthcare evaluation as pneumonia could be the problem. Most of the time pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics, but some more severe cases require hospitalization.
Strep Throat Strep is a common winter illness more prevalent in children. Strep frequently presents with a sore throat, fever, painful swallowing and headache. It can usually be easily treated with antibiotics, and people with strep throat should be treated to help prevent later complications from this infection.
Get quality care, when you need it
Staying healthy and out of the doctor’s office can be a challenge during the winter season. It is important to be aware of the spread of illness, and if you fall ill, actively try to contain yourself to not spread the illness further. Also, be vigilant if your simple cold begins to worsen into a more serious condition.
We are dedicated to providing a comfortable environment for you to get the care that you need and reduce the stress of emergency care. Contact us by phone at (734) 249 6800 or learn more about the Care we provide.