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Influenza to pneumonia; symptoms of common winter illnesses that are fast spreading

Rise in influenza cases in United States and many countries in Europe has become a cause of concern for health authorities. There has also been increase in hospitalisation cases due to the spread of this contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses especially and the worst affected are elderly followed by school-going children. Flu season has begun early in US. Cold, flus, respiratory illnesses, skin issues, and even gut problems are rampant in winter season and to remain healthy during the season, one should make sure to take prevention measures. We discuss some common winter illnesses that people must know about along with their symptoms. (Also read: The flu season is approaching. Are you prepared? Here’s what doctor suggests)

Winter season has a pleasant vibe to it but also comes with a host of illnesses. The sudden drop in temperature can take a toll on one’s overall well-being and ruin the holiday season.

Here are common winter illnesses and their symptoms explained by Dr Vikrant Shah, Consulting Physician, Intensivist, and Infectious Disease Specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur and Dr. Preeti Chabbria, Director, Internal Medicine & General Medicine, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

1. Influenza (Flu)

This is a common occurrence in people of all age groups during winter. Flu vaccinations can prevent this viral infection. The signs and symptoms of it are muscle aches, fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, runny nose, and sore throat. Try to protect yourself from cold weather and stay healthy.

2. Cold and cough

A large number of people suffer from cold when there is a sudden drop in the temperature. It is better to stay at home, have warm liquids, and take steam if one has a cold. The typical symptoms of a cold are a runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing, and mild fever. It is better to consult the doctor at the right time when you have a cold. Avoid any over-the-counter medication as that can be risky for the health.

3. Asthma

It is mostly genetically predisposed and is one more manifestation of allergies. This gets apparent in the cold season for many predisposed individuals. The manifestation can be dry cough, shortness of breath or tiredness with exercise.

4. Pneumonia

It can be termed as a lung infection that happens due to viruses or bacteria. It means an infection leading to inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs. The symptoms of it are yellow or green mucus, chest pain, high fever, and rapid breathing.

5. Strep throat

This means a scratchy throat. One with strep throat may have difficulty speaking or chewing food. This condition is usually treated with the help of antibiotics. The symptoms of this condition are inability to allow and sore throat.

6. Gastroenteritis

The inflammation (irritation) of the intestines. It is commonly known as stomach flu. The symptoms of it are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, mild fever, fatigue, and diarrhoea.

7. Allergies

They are mainly due to the exposure to the suspended impurities in the air and lowered air quality. These can manifest as sneezing bouts, runny nose, itchy throat and itchy eyes.

8. Dryness of the skin

This is seen as itchy skin, with some red blotchy spots or scratch marks.

9. Eczema of the skin

This also flares up in winter due to the dryness of the weather. This is seen as rash on the skin with intense itching.

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