Winter can be a hectic time full of exciting get-togethers, Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas parties, and family dinners.
However, as we prepare for the lovely winter ahead, it’s also necessary to remember that the drop in temperature can lead to multiple seasonal diseases.
You can become more prone to illnesses with a shift in temperature. It’s critical to stay healthy throughout the holidays, especially if you’re at risk with a weak immune system.
Here are a few ailments that you need to keep yourself safe from during the winter season to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
Cold is so widespread that it isn’t considered something unusual during the winter months. Hence, it’s also named the common cold.
The cold and dry climates are ideal for the rhinovirus that causes cold to replicate and spread rapidly. It can drain your energy completely, making you feel lethargic and tired. Symptoms include:
- A runny nose
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Body ache
- Watery eyes
Colds are a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, including your throat and nose. Chest colds that affect your lungs and lower airways might lead to coughing up mucus and chest congestion.
A common cold usually lasts 7 to 10 days in adults, although it might last longer in children. If it persists, you must reach out to your doctor immediately.
Pneumonia is a life-threatening disease in which bacterial, viral, or fungal infections spread to the tiny air sacs called alveoli in your lungs and clog them with fluids. The infection causes inflammation in the alveoli and congests them with fluid or pus, making breathing difficult.
Viral and bacterial pneumonia is contagious and can be passed from person to person through airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. These can also be contracted by touching surfaces or items contaminated with pneumonia-causing bacteria or viruses.
Fungal pneumonia can be contracted from the environment but does not pass from one person to the next.
Pneumonia can cause mild to life-threatening symptoms. They include:
- Shortness of breath that can occur while doing day to day activities or even while resting
- Chills or sweating
- Persistent coughing that may produce phlegm (mucus)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feelings of tiredness or fatigue
- Chest pain that worsens when you cough
- Loss of appetite
Getting proper exercise, diet, and rest can help lower the risks of getting pneumonia.
Acute Ear Infection
Acute ear infections caused by bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae are common winter diseases. It causes inflammation that builds up fluid in your middle ear.
Common symptoms that indicate an ear infection include:
- Pus-like discharge from your ear
- Pain and discomfort inside the ear
- Hearing loss
- A persistent feeling of pressure inside your ear
You can prevent ear infections by washing your ears properly and cleaning them with a cotton swab regularly. Ensure your ears are dried fully after a swimming session or a hot shower.
The norovirus is a contagious illness that’s more common in the winter. It’s also known as a winter bug. It’s a highly contagious intestinal and stomach virus.
Vomiting and watery, non-bloody diarrhea are the most common norovirus symptoms. These symptoms often appear 12 to 48 hours after exposure and might continue for up to three days. Other symptoms include:
- Low-grade fever
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Body aches
Although there are no vaccines available to prevent the virus, you can avoid it by practicing proper hygiene. Maintain a clean environment around by disinfecting your home’s surfaces and eating healthy food.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects your tonsils and throat. It’s caused by group-A Streptococcus bacteria. It can commonly occur among children aged 5-15 years during winter.
Symptoms vary from person to person. Some have severe symptoms like difficulty swallowing, while others have milder symptoms.
Some common symptoms of strep throat include:
- Frequent headaches
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Fever – 101˚F (38˚C) or higher
- Nausea and vomiting
- A sore throat with white patches
- Trouble swallowing
Drinking warmer liquids and gargling with warm salted water throughout the day can help prevent strep throat. Rest as much as you can to recover quickly.
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