Itchy nose, scratchy throat, upset stomach – this may sound like the beginning of a commercial for medicine, but if you’ve recently been sick then these symptoms are all too familiar. Catching a winter bug is no fun. Bundling up isn’t enough either. There are multiple methods of transmission, even for the common cold. Read on to learn about four nasty winter bugs to avoid, and how to avoid them.
The common cold doesn’t feel so common when you don’t feel like yourself, making it tough to carry out daily tasks. A cold infection typically enters through the nose and mouth, and works its way through your system. Common cold symptoms include:
How to avoid it: According to the American Lung Association you should, “Wash hands after touching someone who has a cold, after touching an object they have touched, and after blowing ones nose. If a child has a cold, wash his or her toys after play.” It’s important to keep your hands away from your face during cold season, since even recently washed hands can carry germs that can come in contact with your nose and mouth.
2. Strep Throat
While Strep Throat is uncommon, it’s twice as unpleasant. Strep is the caused by a bacterial infection of throat. Common symptoms include sore throat and fever. A telltale symptom of Strep is the inflammation of tonsils sometimes accompanied by white areas or pus.
How to avoid it: Mayo Clinic notes that Strep typically occurs in younger people. It circulates during late fall and early spring, so it’s definitely a winter bug that doesn’t lie dormant. Avoid it by treating your cold early and with care. If your cold symptoms worsen, go to an urgent care location to prevent an aggravated bacterial infection such as Strep Throat.
3. Stomach Flu
The stomach flu – its name alone is enough to induce cramps. However, this awful bug actually goes by an even nastier name: Gastroenteritis. Vomiting and diarrhea are the main symptoms, but these can also cause secondary symptoms such as a headache due to dehydration. The symptoms result from an infection in one’s intestinal tract.
How to avoid it: Gastroenteritis has nothing to do with the flu. According to Web MD, “An infection may be caused by bacteria or parasites in spoiled food or unclean water. Some foods may irritate your stomach and cause gastroenteritis. Lactose intolerance to dairy products is one example.” The stomach flu is common in the winter since many people enjoy buffet-style foods that may be undercooked. Additionally, those with medical conditions may “cheat” on their alternative diet and eat foods they normally wouldn’t such as gluten or dairy. Avoid triggering foods and underdone items at holiday parties.
The flu, or influenza, is one or the most common and unfortunate side effects of winter. Although it may start feeling like a classic cold, it quickly takes a turn toward all-over aches and a fierce fever. Although flu vaccinations are easily available, many people choose to go without, putting vulnerable populations at risk.
How to avoid it: Simply put: get a flu vaccination. The FDA notes, “The best time to get a flu vaccination is from October through November, although getting it in December and January is not too late.” Just in time for winter.
What are some of your trusted methods for staying healthy throughout the season? Share your remedies in the comments below.