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Common Winter Respiratory Diseases to Watch Out For

Common Winter Respiratory Diseases to Watch Out For

During the winter months, there is a surge in respiratory diseases and illnesses, including flu and colds. The dry and cold air can weaken our immune system and encourage people to spend most of their time indoors, making it easier for viruses to disperse.

If you find yourself coughing and sneezing in the months to come, how can you tell if you have a common cold or something more serious?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common winter respiratory diseases and illnesses that we should watch out for.

Flu

The flu is an infection that affects the throat, nose, and lungs. Most people who get affected get better with adequate rest and sleep. However, at times, the flu and its complications can be lethal.

Influenza symptoms are quite similar to a cold but are typically more severe. These include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle pains or body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Flu complications can be moderate to life-threatening. They include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Ear and sinus infections
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Bronchitis
  • Inflammation of the brain, heart, or muscles
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Multi-organ failure
  • Secondary infections

When to go to your ER in San Antonio

Rush to the emergency room if you experience any of the following.

  • Sudden dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent or severe vomiting
  • Pressure or pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Symptoms that improve but return with a worse cough and fever

Colds

You can catch a cold in any season, but they are more frequent during the colder months of the year. The symptoms of a cold are normally mild and may resolve within 7-10 days. But, if your symptoms are getting worse, it’s wise to talk to a doctor.

The symptoms of a cold are:

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Slight fever
  • Headache or mild body pains
  • A general feeling of being unwell

Seek medical attention if you are experiencing the following:

  • Symptoms that last for at least 5 days
  • If your baby is under 3 months and is lethargic or has a fever
  • Unusual or severe symptoms

Preventing respiratory illnesses

The majority of respiratory diseases are viral. Here are some general prevention tips.

  • Avoid being around people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay at home if you are feeling unwell. Do not send your kids to school if they are experiencing the symptoms enumerated above.
  • Get vaccinated against the flu. You can have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.

Physicians Premier has various convenient locations in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Brazos Valley. Our knowledgeable and experienced medical staff is available 24/7 for all your family’s emergency medical needs.

Sources:

“Flu Symptoms & Complications,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/
“Common Cold,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/
“Cold Versus Flu,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/