Seasonal illnesses, many of which are preventable, affect millions of Americans every year. The winter months are notorious for causing people to fall ill. Viruses and bacteria tend to possess resilience in the winter months, living on surfaces much longer than in the warmer months. Add this to the fact that many of us are forced indoors, sharing space with our families, and creating a breeding ground for the transmission of illness if an individual in the household becomes ill.
The following is a guide of the most common seasonal illnesses that affect the population in the winter months.
Viruses and Bacteria
Winter illnesses are often a result of viruses and bacteria that affect our respiratory systems. These illnesses can be airborne or contracted from infected surfaces.
The Common Cold
This is the most common and preventable illness that strikes in the winter months. Your nose and throat become infected as a result if a virus. There are more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold. Preventative measures including handwashing, avoiding high-touch surfaces, and not touching your face and nose can prevent this virus. Symptoms usually last from a few days to couple weeks.
Bronchitis often develops as a result of another illness, such as a cold or the flu. The bronchial tubes become tender and inflamed which makes it difficult for air to travel to the lungs. This blockage creates mucus in the lungs.
Symptoms of acute bronchitis include persistent cough, mucus, headache, congestion, and soreness in the chest. Bronchitis typically goes away within three weeks without medical intervention.
If severe bronchitis can develop into pneumonia, which is similar in symptoms, but more severe.
Pneumonia can be caused by a virus or bacteria and affects the air sacs within the lungs. The air sacs fill with pus and the lung becomes inflamed. Pneumonia can affect one or both lungs and can be cause serious complications. See a doctor if you think you may have this condition.
The flu is an infection of your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. Those who have had this airborne virus know that symptoms with this illness are miserable. Extreme fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea occur. There is no cure for the flu and only time, rest, and fluids will lead to getting well.
Visit an Urgent Care Center
During the winter these viruses spread so rapidly because we are indoors. If you think you may be sick with one of the above illnesses be sure to visit a local urgent care office today. Proper diagnosis is critical so that you can keep the other members in your home safe if you are sick with a contagious illness.
Medical professionals can also help develop a treatment plan to help you get to feeling better faster.