Common Winter Ailments and What To Do About Them
posted by Lehi Willow Creek Family Medicine | February 22, 2019
Did you know some viruses are more likely to spread during winter months? That’s why winter is typically known as cold and flu season. Here are some common winter illnesses you should watch for and some tips to keep your family healthy.
Known more commonly as the flu, influenza is categorized with symptoms like coughing, high fever, sore throat, muscles pains and aches, and headache. The flu is a common winter sickness, but some don’t realize that it can be deadly. In 2018, 185 children died from influenza.
There are four FDA-approved medications that can treat influenza, but they only shorten the course of the illness by 1-2 days and must be started almost immediately to be effective. The best way to prevent the flu, however, is to get the flu vaccine each year.
Common in children, croup often develops from a typical upper respiratory infection. The most noticeable symptom of croup is a barking cough. Allowing your child to breathe cold or humidified air may help ease symptoms at home, but your child may need breathing treatments or hospitalization depending on the seriousness of the illness.
Strep throat is accompanied by symptoms of nausea, headache, sore throat and high fevers. Swollen lymph nodes/tonsils and white dots in the back of the throat are also common. Fortunately, strep throat can be quickly treated with antibiotics once it is diagnosed. If anyone in your family is diagnosed with strep throat, they should stay home and away from the public until 24 hours after they start antibiotics.
The average person experiences two to three colds each year, with symptoms including headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion and sometimes a fever. The common cold is caused by a viral infection, so it can’t be treated with antibiotics. Most colds just have to run their course, which can last from 7-10 days. Rest, plenty of fluids and over-the-counter cold medicines can help ease symptoms.
The best way to prevent these common winter ailments is to take proactive steps to stay healthy. Prevention tips include:
Your doctor can give you more tips to help you stay healthy.
“Stay Healthy: 6 Tips for Avoiding Cold and Flu.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/avoid-cold-flu#1
“Summary of the 2017-2018 Influenza Season.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm
“From strep throat to RSV: Winter health cheat sheet.” Boston Children’s Hospital.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.