Every winter season, we look forward to the holidays, good food, time off work and school, and spending time with family and friends.
But one thing we never want is to get sick.
Unfortunately, there are a variety of winter respiratory illnesses that attack millions of people in the United States every year. Let’s take a look at some of the most common winter respiratory illnesses and what symptoms you should look out for.
The common cold is caused by a variety of viruses that travel around especially during the winter. It is highly contagious, moving from person to person through the exchange of germs through the air and physical contact.
Symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion, and coughing.
The flu is caused by the influenza virus. Some symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, but they are generally more severe and include fever. The flu is also very contagious in the same way as a common cold.
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, nasal congestion, body aches, weakness, vomiting, and stomach aches.
Sinusitis develops due to a viral infection that causes the mucus membranes in the respiratory system to swell up and produce extra mucus. This causes drainage issues, and the mucus builds up in the sinuses.
Common symptoms include pain in the sinuses (the lower central forehead and the cheeks near the nose), fever, and yellow nasal discharge.
Bronchitis is also caused by a variety of viruses. The virus causes inflammation in the passages connecting to the lungs, which swell up and fill with mucus.
Common symptoms include nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, and shallow breathing.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. This bacterium damages a part of the upper respiratory system, causing the airways to swell up.
Symptoms include persistent coughing that causes a “whooping” sound, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Pneumonia is caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. Pneumonia is a very serious respiratory illness that causes inflammation and fluid retention in the lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to flow properly into the lungs, leading to breathing problems.
Symptoms include fever, cough, congestion, rapid breathing, and chest retractions.
How Can I Prevent Winter Respiratory Illnesses?
With so many winter respiratory illnesses out there, it can seem impossible to protect yourself and your family. However, there are many things you can do to keep safe from these illnesses this winter season.
Here are some tips to follow:
Wash Hands Regularly
Germs are everywhere. Make sure never to touch your face without washing your hands first. This will reduce the chances of germs traveling into your body.
Stay Away from Sick People
Do not let your child play with a friend who is sick. Staying away from a sick family member, friend, or colleague can save you from contracting an illness.
Get Your Vaccinations
While vaccinations are not available for all winter respiratory illnesses, there are some for conditions like the flu, pneumonia, and whooping cough. Make sure you and your family are vaccinated according to your doctor’s recommendations so you remain protected.
Seek Medical Care
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you may have a winter respiratory illness, see a doctor right away. Many of these conditions require antibiotics – and the longer you delay medical treatment, the worse the condition can get.
Getting the right medications and medical advice quickly can hasten your healing process and prevent other people from also getting the illness.
Urgent Care Clinic in Fairless Hills, PA
If you are looking for a trustworthy and reliable medical center for your family’s medical care needs, Patient Care Now Urgent Care is here for you. We offer a variety of medical care specialties including adult urgent care, pediatric urgent care, and orthopedic urgent care.
No appointments are necessary – just walk right in. For more information, call us at (267) 202-6433. You can contact us and even check in online now. We look forward to seeing you here