Common Winter Illnesses to Watch Out For

During the winter months, it can be difficult to stay healthy. But, understanding the warning signs of some of the most common winter illnesses can help you better navigate the recovery process. 

Four of the most common winter illnesses include:

The Common Cold

It goes without saying that the common cold is one of the most common winter illnesses. This contagious viral infection affects the upper respiratory tract and typically spreads through airborne droplets. 

Symptoms of the common cold include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Mild cough
  • Headaches
  • Mild fatigue
  • Achiness

In some cases, the common cold may cause a low-grade fever. 

The Flu

The flu is a contagious viral infection caused by influenza viruses. It affects the nose, throat, and lungs and may trigger mild to severe symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Achiness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue 

Though the flu can be easily confused with the common cold, it has a few key differences. For one, fevers are rare with the common cold and usual with the flu. Additionally, symptoms gradually develop with the common cold but appear abruptly with the flu. 

Bronchitis

Bronchitis occurs when the bronchial tubes, which transport air to and from the lungs, become inflamed. The tubes then fill with mucus, which causes a persistent cough that may be accompanied by achiness, headaches, a sore throat, a runny nose, and/or shortness of breath. 

Oftentimes, bronchitis is caused by a cold or flu virus. The symptoms typically last for two weeks, although the cough may last for a few months. 

Bronchitis is considered chronic if it lasts for three months per year for two consecutive years (or more). Though it’s not contagious, it requires prompt medical care so that you can breathe easily. 

Pneumonia

Pneumonia occurs when the air sacs in one or both lungs become infected, either due to viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These air sacs fill with liquid or pus, leading to symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, loss of appetite, chest pain, sweating, shivering, and a high temperature. Pneumonia can also cause confusion, especially in elderly people. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of pneumonia, seek out immediate medical care. 

At Florida Wellness Medical Group, we offer professional medical care for all types of winter illnesses. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!