You and the members of your family can get sick anytime. There are some illnesses that occur more frequently during cold seasons. Many winter-related illnesses are minor. However, medical problems like influenza and asthma are potentially serious.
The flu is caused by the influenza virus. The symptoms of a mild to moderate case of the flu resemble those of the common cold. They include fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, aches and coughing. Severe cases can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia. For some people, the flu can be life-threatening. Vulnerable groups are children, pregnant women, seniors and individuals with lung conditions like COPD. The best way to deal with influenza is to get vaccinated. You need to repeat the vaccine periodically because new strains of flu are constantly emerging.
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes narrowing and inflammation of airways in your lungs. Symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing may be relieved with medication and inhalers. An asthma attack may be triggered by cold temperatures. Dust and contaminants in the air can also cause asthma symptoms when windows are shut in the winter. You should have your home’s air quality, heating and ventilation checked each year by a qualified HVAC company like Classic Air and Heating. This helps reduce asthma outbreaks by keeping the air in your home clean.
Norovirus is often called the winter vomiting bug. As the name suggests, it is very unpleasant. However, norovirus is not serious and goes away in a few days. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Raymond’s syndrome or phenomenon is a disorder of the circulatory system triggered by cold temperatures. Symptoms include numbness, stiffness and pain in the hands and feet. Fingers and toes turn white. They then from white to blue to red. Wear warm shoes, gloves and socks. Medication is available for severe outbreaks.
The Common Cold
The common cold is a generic term for a group of viral infections. Colds have symptoms similar to influenza. It’s prudent to see your primary care physician when you become ill so that you receive appropriate treatment. Cold symptoms can be relieved by aspirin, decongestants and other over-the-counter medications. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Prepare ahead of time to prevent or treat winter illnesses. Get a flu shot and have your HVAC serviced before the weather turns cold. Talk to your health care provider to determine what you need to do to protect yourself and your family.