Winter will soon be upon us. With this cooler weather comes the Holiday Season, a time when we are all so busy and stressed with activity. Stress can reduce our ability to fight off common Disease and Viruses and with all there is to do we can’t afford the down time.

Stay focused on having a Healthy and Happy New Year, by getting to know the Signs and Symptoms of these Common Winter Illnesses…

  1. Common Cold

You might ask, Why haven’t we cured the Common Cold? The challenge is the Primary Group of Pathogens causing the Sniffles, known as Rhinoviruses, has more than 160 known Strains. It’s hard to create one Vaccine that will target them all.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cold may include…

  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Coughing
  • Head and Body Aches
  • Sore Throat
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade Fever (more common in children)
  • Mild Fatigue

Most Colds come and go before an Examination is necessary. Symptoms usually last for less than 10 days, but you’re only Contagious during the first few. The best thing to do is get plenty of Rest, Drink lots of Fluids, and take Over-the-Counter Medications if needed. One way you can reduce your risk of Catching Colds by Washing your Hands often and avoiding Contact with those who are already Sick.

  1. Flu (Influenza)

While similar to a Cold, Symptoms of the Flu tend to be more severe and may include…

  • Dry, Hacking Cough
  • Fever or Chills (in certain cases)
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuffy or Runny Nose
  • Head, Muscle and Body Aches
  • Fatigue

The best way to prevent catching the Flu is getting the Flu Vaccine. Additionally, covering your Cough, washing your Hands frequently, sanitizing shared spaces with a disinfectant, and staying Home when under-the-weather, helps to prevent spreading the Virus.

  1. Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your Bronchial Tubes, which carry air to and from your Lungs. People who have Bronchitis often Cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic. Often developing from a Cold or other Respiratory Infection, Acute Bronchitis is very common. Acute Bronchitis, also called a Chest Cold, usually improves within a Week to 10 Days without lasting effects, although the Cough may linger for Weeks.

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis may include…

  • Cough
  • Production of Mucus (Sputum), which can be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green in color — rarely, it may be streaked with Blood
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slight Fever and Chills
  • Chest Discomfort

Bronchitis can be Viral or Bacterial and may require Antibiotics.

  1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an Infection in one or both sides of the Lungs and can either be caused by a Virus, Bacteria, or Fungus – there are more than 30 different causes of Pneumonia. Those who are chronically ill or have a weakened Immune System, have Asthma, are Older Adults, or are Younger Children are at a Higher Risk of contracting the Infection. It is estimated, Ninety Percent of all Pneumonia Deaths occur in those over the age of 65.

 Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia may include…

The initial Symptoms of Viral Pneumonia are similar to the Flu, but in more severe cases may also include:

  • Sharp Chest Pains that feels worse when Coughing
  • Difficult time Breathing
  • Fatigue and Loss of Appetite, which may lead to Dehydration
  • Blue or Grey tint to Fingernails and Lips (in extreme cases)

Pneumonia can spread through the air through Sneezing or Coughing, so always cover your Mouth when ill.

  1. Strep Throat

When should you be worried about a Sore Throat? Strep Throat is generally more prevalent in Children, although Adults who are in Contact with Children are susceptible to catching it as well. Caused by Bacteria Group A Streptococcus, Strep can turn very serious if left untreated. If You or your Children experience the following Symptoms, see a Healthcare Professional as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Strep Throat may include… 

  • Swollen, tender Lymph Glands
  • Fatigue
  • Fever without a Cough
  • Pain when Swallowing
  • Rash (less common)
  • Red Dots on the Roof of the Mouth
  • White or yellow Patches in the back of the Throat
  • Stomachache, possibly accompanied by Vomiting

Along with Rest and Fluids, Strep is Treated with Antibiotics. A Culture may take a few days to confirm the Diagnosis, so your Provider may Prescribe Antibiotics as a precaution.

 

 

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