Summer is all but over and those dreaded winter illnesses are still rife in the air. It is important to be aware of the main winter illnesses and to treat them timeously to prevent the more serious complications that they could lead to.
Everyone is prone to contracting the flu, but some people are higher risk candidates and for them, the flu can lead to complications that are more serious.
- High-risk candidates for flu include
- People over the age of 60
- Children under the age of five
- People with pre-existing medical conditions
The symptoms of flu range from the very mild coughing sneezing, sore throat and runny nose. However, it can also lead to moderate symptoms such as infections of the ear and sinuses.
When flu has progressed, the more severe symptoms include:
- Multi-organ failure
- Inflammation of the brain, the muscle tissues or the heart
- Early Treatment for Flu
The flu is easily prevented by a flu vaccination. Once you have the flu, it is important to rest and drink many fluids. A doctor may prescribe anti-viral drugs, antibiotics to contain the flu virus as well as a series of drugs to relieve the symptoms of flu.
Should symptoms prove on going and if they seem to be getting worse, it is important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Another dreaded winter illness is Pneumonia. The causes of Pneumonia include fungi, bacteria and viruses. It is a serious illness and is actually the international leading cause of death in children under the age of five.
Higher risk candidates for Pneumonia include
- People over the age of 65
- Those with underlying medical conditions
Those already infected with other diseases such as Measles, Pneumococcal diseases, Legionnaires’ disease, Chicken pox and others.
Symptoms of Pneumonia include:
- Difficulties breathing
- Heavy coughing
- High fever
- Accelerated heart rate
Early Treatment of Pneumonia
There are vaccines specifically available to prevent Pneumonia. Should you contract it, a course of anti-viral drugs/antibiotics (depending on whether you have bacterial or viral Pneumonia) should be started as soon as possible to contain the infection. Other drug therapies can help with symptomatic relief for coughing, fever and pain.
It is important to monitor symptoms, as hospitalization may be required if:
- You are a high-risk patient
- Your breathing is unusually rapid
- Body temperature drops severely
- You are severely disorientated and confused
Bronchitis is a respiratory disease involving the inflammation of the mucus membrane in the bronchial passages of the lungs. It can be acute (1-3 weeks) or chronic (lasting 3months for two consecutive years). It is caused by a variety of viruses including Influenza virus or “the flu”.
High-risk candidates for Bronchitis:
- Those over 65 years old
- Those exposed to pollution and other lung irritants
Common symptoms of Bronchitis include:
- High fever
- A cough producing mucous
Difficulty breathing, including a wheezing sound when attempting to breathe
Prevention and Early treatment of Bronchitis
Flu vaccinations can also help to prevent Bronchitis. Bronchitis can also be prevented by behavioral and environmental changes such as quitting smoking and avoiding air allergens.
Since Bronchitis compromises the breathing, there are many symptomatic therapies designed to assist in improving breathing including oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Benefits of Early vs late Treatment:
Like all illnesses, it is better to “nip them in the bud”, so to speak. As stated earlier, these common winter illnesses can lead to severe complications, hospitalization and even death in severe cases.
Since all this can cost in pain, time and money and can even lead to long-term and permanent damage to organs. This can make you more prone to illnesses longer term.
Prevention through regular check-ups, vaccinations and very early treatment can prevent an array of pains and give you much greater peace of mind.
Doctors-on-Call is a ‘house call doctor services’ offering flu vaccinations as well as pneumonia vaccinations, check-ups and early support of these illnesses. Once more, Your Doctors-On-call will keep a close eye on you and your symptoms throughout your illness in the comfort of your own home.