Every season has its unique weather, festivals, dressing styles, and food, along with all these positive changes we encounter different diseases that are common to a particular season. Winters have knocked our doors and it has brought some common illnesses, which we come across every year. Here, Manhattan medical arts have tried to enlighten 5 common diseases that we meet more often in winters.
1. THE FLU:
Flu is the commonest contagious disease of the respiratory tract, which people experience during winters. Flu is a viral disease caused by the influenza virus. It has three types; A, B, and C. Type A can also be seen in animals like ducks, chicken, horses, pigs, etc but type B is restricted to humans only. Type A and B cause infections on a large scale while type C has a mild outbreak of symptoms. It has similar symptoms as the common cold but much more severe than a common cold. It can progress to a life-threatening condition, pneumonia. In a survey, it has been represented that in the United States about 5 to 20% of individuals catch the infection, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 deaths have been reported annually. Infants, young children, older people, and immunocompromised patients are at a greater risk to catch the infection. Worldwide there are 3 to 5 million cases of severe influenza, among them approximately 500,000 individuals end up dying.
Clinically manifestations of flu are:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- High-grade fever
- Sore throat
- Pain in the body
Flu is a highly contagious disease. It is transmitted by personal contact and respiratory droplets. A virus can transfer from a person through cough or sneezing, if not covered by tissue. Even you can catch the virus through doorknobs, books, utensils, and everything that has been touched by the infected person. The virus enters your body when you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with virus-infected hands. Hence, wash your hands regularly. Clean your surroundings with disinfectant. The vaccine is available for flu for its prevention.
2. COMMON COLD:
The common cold is a highly contagious upper respiratory tract infection. Unlike the flu, it is caused by 200 different viruses. The most common are rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Among them, 50% of common cold outbreaks are caused by rhinovirus only. The body is unable to protect itself from this virus because it has 100 different forms. The virus enters the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth. It resides in the mucous lining of the nasal and throat cavities. It can be cured within 10 days. It doesn’t have any vaccinations. Personal hygiene and cleanliness of surroundings are advised during the winter to avoid the common cold. Children, old age people, and immune-depressed people are prone to it. It is the main reason for the absentees of students and employees from school and work. Children can have 6 to 8 colds per year while adults can have 2 to 4 colds annually.
It has similar symptoms to the the flu but is not as severe as the flu. It can have complications like otitis media and sinusitis.
3. STOMACH FLU:
Stomach flu is also a viral disease. Norovirus is the causative agent for stomach flu. Norovirus is the most recurrent cause of food-borne gastroenteritis and severe diarrheal disease in children and adults. It causes inflammation of the mucous lining of the stomach; affecting epithelial cells and lymphocytes. It is estimated, that norovirus is the reason for 200,000 deaths in children annually in the World. Before norovirus, rotavirus was common for gastroenteritis but its vaccine has suppressed its occurrence in the United States. Norovirus has numerous serotypes and 6 genogroups. It is considered that most humans are infected by members of genogroup 2.
Norovirus is transmitted by fecal-oral route; you can get infected by the virus if you ingest food or water contaminated by norovirus. Since it is a food-borne disease, people in restaurants are more prone to it. People who take care of infected people can also catch the infection. Outbreaks usually occur at public gatherings. The transmission also takes place directly from person to person. The virus appears in the stool of an infected person even before the appearance of symptoms and several weeks after the revival to usual health.
Some patients manifest signs of headache, photophobia, meningeal irritation, lack of interest in the environment, and weakness.
There are no antiviral drugs recommended. Treatment of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance due to vomiting is required.
Pneumonia is an inflammatory disease that affects lung alveoli. The lungs are comprised of little sacs called air sacs or alveoli, which take up air when a person inspires. Alveoli contain blood capillaries that take part in gaseous exchange. In patients with pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with purulent discharge, pus, and fluid, which makes breathing difficult and limit oxygen consumption by blood vessels. Depending on the viral load, pneumonia can be of mild or severe variety. Infants, children, older people, and immunocompromised people are at risk. According to a study in 2017, Pneumonia is responsible for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years of age, killing nearly 808,694 children. It can be transmitted by inspiring the infected air or via body fluids, especially from mother to fetus during delivery. Pneumonia can be caused by several different organisms, including, bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Streptococcus pneumonia is a bacterium that is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia can develop itself after infection to streptococcus pneumonia or progress after viral cold or flu. Other bacteria responsible for pneumonia are Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydophila pneumonia, and Legionella pneumophila.
The influenza virus is the key factor for viral pneumonia in adults, whereas, the respiratory syncytial virus is responsible for pneumonia in children.
Pneumocystis pneumonia is a grave fungal infection that prevails among patients who have an impaired immune system. In the United States, Coccidioidomycosis, Histoplasmosis, and Cryptococcus are also the reason for fungal pneumonia.
- Cough with mucus
- Pain in the chest when you breathe or cough
- High-grade fever
- Rigor and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Obtundation in older patients
5. CHRISTMAS TREE SYNDROME:
It is an allergic condition. The allergy is caused by a real Christmas tree when setting up inside the house. It brings several molds along with it that trigger allergic reactions. In a study, it has been indicated that almost 10 children are admitted to a hospital around Christmas due to Christmas tree syndrome, every year. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Alternaria are the molds found on the Christmas tree which cause an allergic reaction.
- pain in chest
- teary eyes
- itchy nose
- runny nose
- difficulty in breathing
If you experience any of the above-mentioned conditions, do not waste time and rush to any medical center near Manhattan or New York that provides the best healthcare service. Several medical centers are trustworthy and have the best medical practices in Chelsea, Manhattan, and NY.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More