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9 Common Winter Diseases and How to Fight Them

With winter comes a festive vibe, but did you know that the dropping temperatures can also make you more vulnerable to infections? Yes, you heard that right! Being cooped up inside longer makes it easier for viruses to pass on from person to person causing colds, flus and other respiratory defects.

Read this blog further to understand the common winter diseases that one must be informed about and how to effectively stay safe and healthy. Do contact your nearest healthcare facility in case you observe symptoms or have other medical concerns.

1. Common cold 
A cold that is most common in the winter months and categorized by a runny nose, chest congestion, sore throat, cough, sneezing, mild headache and low-grade fever. The symptoms are milder compared to the flu and usually go away on their own after 2-4 days. Usually a common cold doesn’t disrupt your daily routine but do take plenty of rest to recover faster. Use decongestants,  saline rinses and a humidifier to ease the symptoms.

How to get rid of cold and cough quickly? | A.J. Hospital, Mangalore

2. Flu (Influenza)
Influenza is a droplet infection with symptoms that are harsher than that of a common cold. Typically, an influenza infection goes away after 7-10 days, it can cause severe complications in-

  • Children under the age of 5 and adults older than 65 years.

  • Pregnant women 

  • People with weakened immune systems and suffering with chronic ailments

  • People who are overweight or obese

How to differentiate between the symptoms of cold and influenza?

Maintain good personal hygiene and make sure you get your annual flu vaccine for maximum protection against the virus.

3. Strep Throat
This bacterial infection, more transmissible in the cold temperatures, makes your throat sore and scratchy. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of your body such as tonsils, sinuses, skin, ears and even blood. Here are some symptoms to watch out for in both children and adults:

  • Sudden throat pain 

  • Pain while swallowing

  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus

  • Red spots at the back of the roof of the mouth 

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck

  • Nausea or vomiting (especially in younger children)

What is Strep Throat and is it contagious? | Mangalore Hospitals

Limit the spread of the disease by refusing to share personal items and sneezing into a tissue at all times

4. Ear infection
Earaches are more common than young children, but adults can also get them. Infections in your middle ear are induced by cold or allergies that cause congestion and swelling in the air passages.

Why are children more susceptible to ear infections in the winter?

Consult a doctor nearby if you notice the following accompanied symptoms-

  • Persistent high fever (above 100 °F for babies and above 104 °F)

  • Strong pain

  • Ear discharge (Pur or blood is leaking from the ear)

5. Sinusitis
With cold-like symptoms, sinusitis is triggered by a cold, allergies, nasal polyps, deviated septum, facial trauma, immune disorders and tumors. Drier air in the winters means there is a chance that the mucus in your sinus may be drying out. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to keep moisture in your mucus membrane. Drink plenty of water and practice good hygiene to keep the viruses away.

Why does Sinusitis worsen in winter? | Best Hospital in Mangalore

6. Joint pains
Cold weather can reduce the blood circulation to your fingers and toes, causing inflammation and severe joints pain.

How does cold weather affect your joints and ankles? | A.J. Hospital

Here are some tips to help you beat the chills and keep your joints comfortable:

  • Wear warm clothing

  • Stay hydrated

  • Use a heating pad to bring relief to the affected areas

7. Respiratory ailments

  • Asthma flare ups:  Cold air is one of the most common triggers of asthma, which is you may experience more flare-ups during the winter. Furthermore, cold & flu can also aggravate your symptoms.

How to control Asthma in Winter? | Hospitals Near Me | A.J. Hospital

  • Bronchitis: Both acute and chronic bronchitis are caused due to the inflammation of the respiratory passage. They exhibit similar symptoms like chest congestion, coughing mucus and wheezing.

  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a bacterial or a viral infection which worsens as the temperatures drop. Cold air can cause the existing condition to worsen causing symptoms like shallow, rapid breathing, shortness of breath and fever.

8. Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder that may be caused by the production of certain hormones produced in the brain.

Can seasonal affective disorder cause other medical complications?

Typically, the symptoms can be observed as the follows:

  • Weight gain

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Fatigue

  • Increased appetite

  • Suicidal thoughts 

  • Isolating yourself

9. Heart Attacks
Falling temperatures in the winter months mean that your blood pressure may increase. This puts a burden on your heart’s ability to pump blood causing a risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

Why are heart attacks more common in winter? | Cardiologist Near Me

Stay physically active and watch what you eat to keep your heart healthy. Do not skip your annual health screenings for timely medication action.

Here are some tips to take care of yourself this winter:

  1. Exercise regularly

  2. Eat a balanced diet 

  3. Wear clothes that keep you warm

  4. Drink plenty of water

  5. Sleep well

  6. Practice good hygiene habits

  7. Be ‘mindful’ of your mental health

  8. Plan annual medical screenings with your doctor

Ensuring your nutrition is our priority | Dietary Service at A.J. Hospital

Visit A.J. Hospital & Research Centre to consult with a dedicated team of doctors who are committed to guide you on your path toward speedy recovery through comprehensive diagnosis, screenings and treatments. Book an appointment on our website today.