The most common time to get sick is the winter season, largely because many conditions are made worse by cold weather. Unfortunately, this is also holiday season when we’re trying to do more shopping, attend more parties, and work ahead for vacation days off.
To help you prepare for the weeks and months ahead, here are the most common winter illnesses and how you can prevent them before they strike.
The Common Cold
Nearly everyone has come down with a cold in the winter, but colds can often be prevented with good hygiene and a generally healthy lifestyle. Colds are also marked by nasal congestion, a runny nose, coughing, and a sore throat. To prevent colds, wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water. bring along Olive Leaf Surface Cleaner when out in public touching multiple germ-carrying surfaces. This habit helps prevent the spread of germs after touching public surfaces. Eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of fluids can go a long way in preventing common colds.
Influenza, or the flu, is very common in the winter and can actually be fatal for people with weak immune systems. People who are most at risk of serious complications from the flu are young children, senior citizens, pregnant women, and individuals with long-term conditions like diabetes or COPD. The flu usually peaks in January and February and is easily spread from one person to another. Talk with your doctor to determine whether getting a flu shot is a good idea for you. For many, this may not be a great idea when the flu strains in circulation are not the ones being protected by the vaccine. Limiting your alcohol intake, getting plenty of rest, and consuming foods that contain zinc and garlic may also be effective support for the immune system.
While influenza symptoms mostly involve body aches and cold-like symptoms, stomach flu results in nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. A different type of virus causes gastroenteritis, which is another common winter sickness. Natural remedies for stomach flu prevention include grape juice, apple cider vinegar, and probiotics.
This is a very common viral respiratory winter illness among young children, especially babies under two years old. The symptoms of bronchiolitis include standard cold symptoms, as well as low-grade fevers and wheezing. It’s caused by a viral infection and most commonly spread by direct contact with nose and throat fluids. If left untreated, dehydration and difficulty breathing can occur. The best way to avoid this sickness is to wash hands frequently and disinfect countertops, toys, and other commonly used surfaces.
Strep throat is very common in the winter among kids who attend school and also adults who work office jobs. That’s because it is a contagious condition that often involves a very sore throat and loss of voice. Raw honey, bone broth, herbal tea, and apple cider vinegar may help ease strep throat symptoms naturally.
Pneumonia is another common winter sickness that is caused by a bacterial infection. At times, this sickness occurs as a progression of the common cold. Garlic, fenugreek seeds, cayenne pepper, and steam inhalation are all used as natural ways of helping with symptoms and the immune system.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
While many winter illnesses are physical conditions, others are mental and emotional, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition is often triggered during the cold and dark days of winter when you aren’t getting enough sunlight and outdoor activity. To remedy the depression symptoms and loss of interest that SAD causes, light therapy has been very effective for many people. Getting outside despite the cold, taking a vitamin D supplement, and talking to a trusted person are also recommended ways to deal with SAD.
Winter is coming, but with a few preventative measures, you can enjoy the beauty of the season in full health.