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winter illnesses

How to Prevent Common Winter Illnesses

Winter is here and so are these common illnesses. Hang with me and I will take you on the journey of knowing what’s common, fighting it off and preventing it. These simple steps will help you be on the lookout and how to protect yourself and your family.

The Common Cold

The common cold and the flu are two of the most contracted illnesses in the winter time. With a cold, you usually will have a cough but don’t count that out exactly. You will have symptoms of a runny nose or a stuffy nose, a sore throat and possibly a headache. You can get them year around, but they usually occur more in the winter.

Statcare Urgent Care, a Bronx Urgent Care facility, says that colds tend to get worse in about 3 days or so and is not over until 7 to 10 days. The length of a cold depends on the health of an individual. It is a viral infection, so no medicine will cure it, but cold medicine can help with the symptoms.

Do note that some doctors are now saying not to give cough medicine because a cough is the bodies way of getting rid of phlegm. That is not always the case though. If you have had a cold for an extended amount of time and are coughing vehemently, the cough medicine taken as directed is very helpful. I prefer an actual cold medicine.

The Flu

Now the flu is quite different. The flu, called influenza, is a virus that can be prevented by a simple influenza vaccine. It saves your health and paycheck by not being put out of work. It requires a lot of bed rest. You really will have no choice but to rest because your body will be so fatigued.

Elderly and babies are at risk of further complications from the flu that can even be fatal. That includes people with a lower immune system too. Influenza starts with a sudden high fever and then follows a cough, sore throat, body chills and horrible fatigue that comes with body aches.

The fever lasts for 5 days or longer if you already have an underlining illness or are very young or elderly.  It can be fatal but healthy individuals are better in about 5 days. If you go to the doctor within two days of catching the flu you can take an antiviral medication that shortens the downtime associated with the flu virus.

For both flu and cold, drink orange juice but not too much. It can cause kidney stones when ingested too much. Just a glass should work. Gargling with warm salt water helps the throat but the main thing is rest. That’s a hard feat for some of us but if you just rest like your supposed too, it will all be over soon.

Remember to push water. Drink water every chance you get. This will fight off dehydration. Never hesitate to go to the hospital if you feel something is not right. Better safe than sorry! You can find more natural remedies on webmd.com.

Bronchitis and Pneumonia – What’s the difference?

These two can come hand in hand, but both are very different. Bronchitis comes in two forms, acute and chronic. Acute means it will pass but chronic is serious and recurring. You will not know if you have chronic bronchitis the first time you get it because it is the reoccurrence that makes the illness chronic. Bronchitis can be a virus or bacteria. Most doctors treat it like it is bacteria because bacteria need antibiotics to be killed while viruses must run their course. You don’t want to wait around and see if it gets better especially if it is bacteria. The cold or flu can cause bronchitis. Smoking worsens it, so quit if you smoke. You can do it! Bronchitis consists of shortness of breath and wheezing. Your chest can feel tight. A sore throat, body chills, fever, and fatigue are also associated. Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia.

Pneumonia often starts as a cold and just gets worse. It can be fatal. Breathing can be difficult. Pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria and needs medical attention. Anytime when having trouble breathing, a doctor visit or hospital visit is a must. Rest and following doctor’s orders are important and the best thing you can do.

Do quarantine yourself, but do not stay alone. Have someone checking in on you often. Pneumonia is serious and should be taken as much.

Watch out for Strep Throat.

Strep is common and needs to be treated with antibiotics. It can be deadly if left untreated. It is more than a sore throat. It is bacteria that can cause havoc. Always finish the antibiotics because strep can settle in your organs or joints causing painful joints. It can be fatal. The reason I bring up strep is it can be mistaken for the cold or other virus so be on the lookout for it. You don’t always have to have white specks either.

You can find more info at medicine.com or for children childrensmd.org.