Winter is finally here, which means many people throughout New England are spending a significant amount of time each day indoors. Not surprisingly, this means more close contact with others than during the warmer months of the year, which leads to more spreading of germs. While simple steps, like washing your hands regularly, can help decrease your chances of getting sick, the bottom line is that many illnesses occur with increased frequency throughout the winter.
By knowing what to look for, you can be prepared should you or a family member end up with one of the three illnesses outlined below—all commonly seen at ConvenientMD from December through May.
1. The Common Cold
Caused by an extensive variety of airborne viruses, the common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that affects millions of people each year. While some are lucky enough to escape getting sick, adults average 2-3 colds annually; among children, this rate is even higher. Colds can come at any time of the year, but they occur most frequently during the winter months. Though typically self-limiting, the risk for a cold to develop into sinus infection, bronchitis or even pneumonia does exist—particularly for the elderly and the immunocompromised.
Signs and symptoms of the common cold include: sneezing; coughing; sore throat; runny nose; congestion; fatigue; watery eyes; headache.
Anyone who claims to have been hit by the “stomach flu” has most likely suffered a bout of norovirus. While not actually a type of flu at all, norovirus shares the trait of coming on extremely fast, with moderate to severe symptoms. Lasting for up to three days, the infection can result in near-constant vomiting and diarrhea, increasing the risk of dehydration. Norovirus is extremely contagious and most often spread via food, water, and contaminated surfaces. Crowded environments such as schools, hospitals, and cruise ships often serve as epicenters for norovirus outbreaks.
Signs and symptoms of norovirus include: nausea; abdominal cramps; vomiting; fatigue; diarrhea; fever; muscle aches; headache.
Commonly referred to as “the flu,” influenza affects as much as 20% of the U.S. population each year, leading to 200,000 hospitalizations annually according to the CDC. The flu is a contagious viral respiratory illness that causes full-body aches and pains, flu symptoms may come on suddenly and can last for approximately one week before subsiding, and up to two weeks in more severe cases. The best defense against influenza is to get the flu shot each year.
Signs and symptoms of influenza include: fever; chills; cough; congestion; headache; runny nose; fatigue; muscle aches.
Feeling Sick? Visit ConvenientMD to Get Treated This Winter!
There’s only so much that can be done to avoid getting sick during the winter. At ConvenientMD, we regularly treat all of the most common illnesses seen at this time of year, such as the common cold, norovirus, influenza and many others. Our highly experienced treating providers can help get you or a family member who has fallen ill get diagnosed, treated and on the path toward a speedy recovery. Just walk into any ConvenientMD location in Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Maine—you don’t ever need to make an appointment to be seen.
When winter illness hits, ConvenientMD is here to help. All of our locations are open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Stop in today to get treated!