Common Winter Season Diseases: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention
Most of us may be happy that the breezy and slushy monsoons have ended, but letâ€™s not forget the fact that winter has set in. Winter is a season of fun and frolic in many parts of the world, as many correlate the climate to that of the birth of Christ. While your child may be on a vacation for winter, you need to watch out from some disease that is particularly winter-specific. If left untreated, these diseases can turn out to be life-threatening.
Winter has arrived, and with it comes cold and flu season. You do your best to keep yourself and your family healthy, but despite your best efforts, you may still find yourself ill.
As we await the wintery mornings to set in and enjoy the cold weather let us not forget the repercussions of winter. To enjoy this weather at the fullest and in good health some health precautions are needed. During winters, the body heat usually experiences a drop as the environment cools. At the body is adjusting to the new climate, this change is demonstrated through a number of diseases. Some health problems, such as asthma, sore throat and cold sores, are triggered or worsened by cold weather. Here’s how to deal with cold weather ailments.
Types of Winter Diseases:
Winter diseases can appear suddenly and leave you hospitalised in this season of celebration. Similarly, you can experience a common sore throat and it may later turn into something very devastating. The cold season cools your body and this makes simple illness harder to heal. Thus, you need to take precautionary measures before you ever allow a common disease to leave you hospitalised. Here are 10 different types of winter diseases that you and your child are prone to.
1. Sore Throat:
A Sore Throat is the very first sign that you may be suffering from a bad cold. Most people do not care to treat it and as a result, this may get worse. This disease is one of the most common winter diseases and is usually caused by viral infections.
Causes of Sore Throat:
There are many different factors that can trigger a sore throat but this is very common during winter. Also, a bacteria called group A streptococcus that causes strep throat is the same virus that causes sore throat. Here are some other factors that can cause sore throat.
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- Dryness indoors
- Air pollutants; and
- Tumours in the throat
Symptoms of Sore throat:
You may know the signs of a sore throat. But, what is important is that you do not avoid this disease especially if you have been caught by it during winter. Here are some of the symptoms of sore throat.
- Severe pain and scratchy sensation in throat
- Swollen throat
- Red tonsils
- White patches in throat
- Puss found on tonsils in throat
Home remedies for a sore throat
To relieve the pain of a sore throat:
- Gargle with a mixture of warm water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Drink warm liquids that feel soothing to the throat, such as hot tea with honey, soup broth, or warm water with lemon. Herbal teas are especially soothing to a sore throat (5Trusted Source).
- Cool your throat by eating a cold treat like a Popsicle or ice cream.
- Suck on a piece of hard candy or a lozenge.
- Turn on a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Rest your voice until your throat feels better.
Unlike other common winter illnesses, pneumonia is often caused due to bacterial infection. Pneumonia is a life-threatening disease that can be fatal and this usually starts with viral and fungal infection. This disease clogs the alveoli that are tiny air sacs in your lungs and fills it with fluids. This disease can happen among young people, but if an older person is suffering from it, it can turn out to be dangerous.
Causes of Pneumonia:
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria and viruses that multiply and settle in tiny holes of your lungs (Alveoli). This bacterium is found in terms of liquid that clogs the tiny holes in your lung thus making you develop shortness in breath. However, this disease is deadly because it can spread by coughing, sneezing or by touching an object. The bacteria that powers pneumonia is so deadly that it can fill the lung sacs with bacterial fluid and pus and this can kill you if not treated immediately.
Symptoms of Pneumonia:
The symptoms of pneumonia can be present in different ways, meaning sometimes this disease may start as cold and begins to evolve. Keep in mind that if your child has a bad cold for several days and that the child developed high fever, this can be an immediate sign of pneumonia. Here are some of the symptoms of pneumonia that will help you identify the disease.
- Severe cough
- Green phlegm and coughed up lungs
- High fever
- Shortness in breath
- Severe headache
- Profuse sweating
- Purple color skin
- Pain in muscles
3. Acute Ear Infection:
An ear infection is something that is caused by bacterial infections in the middle ear, which is a section found behind your eardrum. Ear infections can be very painful due to inflammation and fluid buildup in the middle ear. There are both acute as well as chronic ear infections. When it comes to acute ear infection, it is considered very painful but it will last only for a short duration. Winter climate can cause acute ear infections. Usually, people with acute ear infections experience blocked, itchy and painful ears.
Causes of Acute Ear Infection:
An acute ear infection is usually caused when eustachian tube begins to swell and this causes blockage thereby causing fluids to build in your middle ear. Here are some causes of acute ear infection.
- Sinus infection
- Changes in climatic condition
Symptoms of Acute Ear Infection:
Here are some symptoms of acute ear infection that will help you identify the disease.
- Severe pain
- Discomfort in the ear
- Pus-filled ear like feel
- Hearing loss
In case you are suffering from asthma, you need to watch out for winter as asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing and shortness in breath can be caused due to the cold winter air. Do not skip your medication and carry inhalers with you.
Causes of Asthma:
There has not been a single cause that has been identified for asthma. However, here are some of the ways in which asthma might be caused.
- Genetically, asthma can be caused
- If your parents or family has a history of viral infections
- Frequent contact with different types of allergens that you may be sensitive with can also cause asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma:
Here are some of the symptoms of asthma that you need to watch out during winter.
- Severe coughing during winter nights or when laughing or exercising
- Whistle sound when breathing
- Tightness in chest
- Shortness in breath; and
- Extreme tiredness
5. Heart Attacks:
Heart attacks usually happen during winter in comparison to other seasons of the year. This is because a person suffering from high blood pressure may witness more strain in his/her heart due to the cold winter. Also, keep in mind that your heart will have to work harder in order to maintain body heat during winter. So, all you need to do is to keep yourself warm.
Causes of Heart Attacks:
One of the major causes of heart attacks is the buildup of plaque on the artery walls. This thickens the arteries and slows down the flow of blood to different organs and parts of your body. Unhealthy eating can cause plaque buildup, even being overweight can cause heart problems. Also, one of the most important ways a person can develop a heart disease is by excessive smoking.
Symptoms of Heart Attacks:
Heart attacks can be very fatal and life-threatening unless you take good treatment in advance. Here are warning signs of what can happen if you are suffering heart attack.
- Pressure and, squeezing in chest that constantly comes and goes.
- Severe pain in your neck, arms, jaw, back and stomach
- Sudden shortness in breath
- Nausea and lightheaded on the inside
6. Joints Pain:
Most people suffering from arthritis will encounter pain in their joints during winter. One way to get over this pain is by regularly exercising. This will help you change your lifestyle and change your overall health.
Causes of Pain in joints:
Joint pain can be caused due to a number of factors and here some of the most common factors that could have affected you with joint pain.
- Broken cartilage in kneecap
- Arthritis; and
- People suffering from influenza and hepatitis
Symptoms of Pain in Joints:
Joint pain can be normal and in some cases extremely painful. The first sign of having joint pain is of course pain that is associated with it. But more than the pain there are other factors that can cause pain in your joints.
- Joint pain can be the outcome of a serious injury caused when you were young
- When your joint appears to be very deformed, you need to consult a doctor
- Swelling in your knees without any appropriate reason
- When you cannot move your joint; and
- When you have severe pain in your joints
Home Remedies for Joints Pain
- Lose weight
- Get more exercise
- Use hot and cold therapy
- Try acupuncture
- Use meditation to cope with pain
- Include the right fatty acids in your diet
- Add turmeric to dishes
- Get a massage
- Consider herbal supplements
7. Itching Skin:
The first sign that you may encounter when winter sets in is dry-itchy skin. Why does this happen? This is because the cold winter does not enable your body to sweat as much as it does during summer. Thus when your body is not producing enough of natural oils and moisture, it tends to dry and die, therefore causing dry-itchy skin. All you need to do is to keep your skin moisturised all the time during winter by using petroleum jelly and coconut oil.
Causes of Itchy Skin:
Your skin plays a vital role in protecting the inside organs of your body. Your skin cells are very sensitive to dust and various other suspicious substances and this can trigger different skin disease that can damage your entire identity. Here are some causes of itchy skin.
- Dry skin
- Acne; and
Symptoms of Itchy Skin:
If you develop dry skin during winter, apply skin moisturizer on it and keep it moisturized. Dry skin can leave your skin cracked and never healing. Use petroleum jelly or apply moisturizer on it. This is not a big problem for you to consult a doctor. Itâ€™s just that your body condition is getting adapted to the new season and as a result, dry skin is something very common among people of all ages.
Home Remedies to prevent itching, Dermatologists Recommend:
- Bathe with lukewarm â€“ not hot â€“ water. Try to limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes.
- Always use â€œfragrance-freeâ€ lotions, soaps and detergents to minimize irritation. Be wary of products labeled â€œunscented,â€ as they might still have chemicals that can irritate your skin.
- As directed by your dermatologist, apply medications before moisturizing. Then, apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin, including areas treated with medication.
- Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes. Wool and other rough-feeling fabrics can irritate your skin, causing intense itching.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes. Maintain a relatively cool, neutral humidity environment in your house. Use a humidifier during winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.
- Reduce stress, as stress can make your itch worse.
Prevention of Winter Diseases:
During winter many people have the risk of getting sick. Infectious disease are available in the air and you need to take precautionary measures to stay safe and healthy. There are some simple tips that you can do at home that will safeguard you as well as your family from any winter infection.
- Wash your hands with soap
- If you have a bad cold, then you need to cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough
- Make sure you use your own utensils when it comes to eating and drinking
- Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated