Illnesses that commonly occur in winter

We all want to be in our best state of health. However, our health can be dependent on the weather. Some people develop the immunity to certain disease and illnesses while others remain susceptible, especially with the changing of the season. Winter is that time of the year when respiratory diseases are prevalent. People who are susceptible are those very young, very old, and those with a compromised immune system.

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Below are some of the common illnesses that take place during winter.

·         Common cold – It is a viral infection characterized by nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, and low-grade fever. There are various types of virus that causes colds. In fact, common colds can occur at any time of the year but its prevalence is higher during winter months. Some people have mild colds while others have severe colds, which typically last for about a week.

·         Flu – This viral infection usually starts with a common cold and some people mistaken it for a common cold until further symptoms start to appear such as sore throat, cough, headache, high-grade fever, body aches, and pains. The high-grade fever lasts for up to five days. Flu can be prevented by having a flu shot every year.

·         Bronchiolitis – it is a type of viral respiratory infection. The clinical manifestations are cough with a wheezing sound, nasal congestion, and low-grade fever. The cause of bronchiolitis is RSV, which is a particular type of virus. It looks like a common cold at first but gets severe as time passed by, especially when the person complains of difficulty breathing along with wheezing sound and dehydration.

·         Norovirus – This illness is popularly known as the winter vomiting bug. It is a severe infectious stomach bug, which is particularly common during winter. It usually lasts for a few days and the typical characteristics include vomiting and diarrhea. The patient is at risk for dehydration and so it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

·         Strep Throat – This condition is common in school-aged children. The clinical manifestations are headaches, sore throat, and stomachache. In some instances, the child may experience vomiting and high-grade fever.  The child with a strep throat is treated with antibiotics.

What can you do to prevent illnesses during winter?

Although you cannot control the coldness of winter, fortunately, there are things you can do to shield yourself from diseases and illnesses that winter brings. Some of the things you can do to get yourself protected from winter-related illnesses include the following:

·         Make a habit of washing your hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the bathroom.

·         Stay away from people with active infections.

·         Cough into the tissue and not into your handkerchief.

·         Avoid going outside, especially when the weather is unforgiving.

·         Eat healthy and nutritious foods, especially hot soup.

·         Have a flu shot every year.

·         If you feel unwell, it is best to visit your doctor, especially if you have not been feeling well for five days.