Common Winter Illness

Dr. Amir Petrus Dawood

It’s important to keep well during the holidays, particularly if you are at risk (very young, very old or with a compromised immune system). Here are some common ailments:

1) Common Cold

The cold is a viral infection marked by nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, headache and sometimes a low-grade fever. Colds are caused by several different types of virus and can occur anytime during the year, although they occur most frequently in the winter months. Most colds peak around day 3-5 but begin to improve with complete resolution of symptoms in about a week

2) Flu

The flu may initially be mistaken for a common cold, but it usually comes on quickly with high fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and body aches and pains. The fever may last up to 5 days. The best way to avoid this illness in yourself and your family is to make sure everyone gets their flu vaccination.

3) RSV/Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis is a common viral respiratory infection. Symptoms include nasal congestion, cough, low-grade fevers, and wheezing. RSV, a virus that is often the cause of bronchiolitis, although many different viruses can cause bronchiolitis. It too can resemble a common cold before it progresses into a more serious illness with wheezing, difficulty breathing, and dehydration.

4) Strep Throat

Strep is most often seen in school-aged children. Strep presents as a sore throat, headache, and stomachache. Some people will experience a high fever or vomiting. Strep throat does not usually cause cold symptoms or coughing, and it can usually be easily treated with antibiotics.

4) Cold Sores

Cold sores tend to pop up when your immunity is low and your body is stressed—in other words, the textbook definition of wintertime. According to the National Health Service (NHS), the painful, fluid-filled lesions on your lips are brought upon when you’re feeling run down, so try to stay as relaxed and healthy as you can throughout the season by doing some yoga or meditation, eating a wholesome diet, and drinking plenty of water to keep your health in tiptop shape and your lips cold sore-free.

5)Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is when the white of your eye becomes irritated or inflamed due to viruses, bacteria, allergens, or irritants. Weirdly enough; it is common during the winter—and also contagious, depending on which type you have. If you come down with a case, make sure to wash your hands on the regular and, of course, avoid touching your eyes


Bronchitis is an infection that involves the inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry oxygen to the lungs. If you come down with a case of it, you could experience everything from a cough and chest discomfort to mucus and fatigue. Unfortunately, it’s common in the winter; it’s caused by the same viruses that knocks you out with a cold or the flu.


When it comes to asthma—a condition that inflames your airways, making it harder to breathe—winter weather only makes matters worse. “For people who already have a diagnosis of asthma, they often find that their symptoms worsen in the dry, cold weather ; be sure to continue any scheduled medications you’re supposed to take to keep you less vulnerable, and speak to your doctor early on if you start to have a flare.

8)Joint Pain

If your joints start to ache the instant it gets cold outside, you’re not alone. According to the Arthritis Foundation, changes in barometric pressure can cause more aches, which is exactly what happens when a cold front moves in. To help

get some relief, grab a heating pad, take a nice soak in a bubble bath every so often, and get in plenty of exercise and stretching.

9) Ear Infections

Ear infections come about when you experience a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, which is common in the winter due to the higher rates of the cold and flu . If you keep your immune system strong and limit your contact with those who are under the weather, you might be able to prevent coming down with common seasonal illnesses altogether.


No matter the time of year, it’s important to practice good hygiene, such as hand washing, coughing into a tissue, and avoiding contact with other people when you are contagious. If you find yourself sick during the winter months, your immune system will often handle it without any intervention. However, if you aren’t getting better or are getting worse, it may be time to see a doctor.

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