Two Common Winter Illnesses To Know
This time of year, there are always plenty of us experiencing the very unpleasant symptoms of colds, flu and other respiratory symptoms.
Wintertime means the heat is on in the house, which can dry out the air in your home, in turn drying out your nasal passages. Dry nasal passages make it easier for viruses to really settle in and do their nefarious work. Having the heat on also means making sure the house is closed up against the weather, which leads to people spending a lot more time a lot closer together.
In short, between the months of December and March when respiratory illnesses typically peak, the result is a perfect storm of circumstances for those illnesses to thrive and jump from one person to another.
Here are two common winter illnesses that people should know.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
RSV is the most common cause of the respiratory illnesses in children. It shares symptoms with the common cold – runny nose, sneezing, and cough – sometimes fever and decreased appetite which can lead to dehydration. It’s most commonly seen in babies six months old or younger.
If you recognize any of these signs of RSV in your infant, it is advisable to make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician to assess and monitor the situation. It is possible for RSV to lead to illnesses such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia, especially in vulnerable populations like babies.
This one is commonly referred to as the “chest cold.” With bronchitis, the airways of the lungs get really swollen, and when that happens, they produce a lot of mucus, which is what makes people cough so much.
Bronchitis is almost always viral, not infectious, and usually lasts about three weeks, which is when people start to get worried that it’s more bacterial than viral.
The prominent symptom that troubles so many is persistent coughing, that is either productive or not, which is to say if mucus is being expelled or not. Chest soreness is another common symptom, and you may also experience:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
The best way to treat bronchitis is with rest and abundant fluids.
Experiencing Cold or Flu Symptoms?
Respiratory illnesses are uncomfortable and largely unavoidable this time of year. People with preexisting chronic conditions that affect the lungs are even more susceptible.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of RSV, bronchitis or other respiratory illnesses the Primary Care physicians of Catskill Regional Medical Group can help. We have locations throughout Sullivan County – Monticello, Bethel, Callicoon and Livingston Manor – with daytime and evening hours available, including same-day appointments.