Winter is often referred to as “cold and flu season,” and with good reason. Respiratory infections seem to favor the colder months, even though you may be exposed to viruses and other pathogens throughout the year.
ENT practices like Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat typically get busy as the weather cools. While the common cold doesn’t require medical care itself, it can cause complications like ear infections or longer-lasting sinusitis, as well as triggering stronger asthma attacks.
Rest and plenty of fluids may be all you need to get through winter illnesses, but rest assured that Dr. Scott Bateman and his team are standing by when the season gets the better of you.
It’s typical for a healthy adult to have several common colds throughout the year. Caused by a wide variety of viruses, colds usually last for about a week to 10 days. While the symptoms can make life quite miserable, it’s unlikely you’ll become seriously ill because of a cold. However, a cold can cause complications in your sinuses and ears. People with nasal polyps or deviated septums could risk chronic sinusitis, a respiratory infection that can resemble a cold but never ends.
Another viral respiratory infection, the flu is potentially more serious than a cold, but healthy people generally aren’t at risk. There can be complications associated with flu, however, and these can be serious and even life-threatening in rare cases. Along with similar sinus complications to the common cold, flu can lead to inflammatory conditions of the brain, heart, and muscles. Patients with heart disease may find their condition advancing because of the flu virus.
Viral respiratory infections can feature sore throat among their symptoms. Strep throat, though, results from a bacterial infection, and it’s a condition that doesn’t have respiratory symptoms. It does, however, feature a fast outbreak of sharp throat pain. Like cold and flu, strep throat can resolve itself in 7-10 days, but because throat pain is often severe and serious complications like rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation are possible, treatment with antibiotics can shorten the course of the disease as well as the length of time during which you can spread the illness to others.
Resulting from viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, pneumonia is potentially the most serious common respiratory infection. It can be a complication of cold or flu, occurring when the air sacs in your lungs become inflamed. The infecting pathogen overwhelms the body’s immune system, and it can be serious when it occurs in very young children, those over 65, or people with weak immune systems or other medical problems. Even healthy adults may sometimes have trouble fighting off the infection. Symptoms resemble cold or flu, but they tend to last longer. In advanced cases, fluid may begin to collect in the lungs.
While your winter illness will most likely create a temporary period of feeling miserable before you recover, there are times when medical attention can speed healing and abate your symptoms. When needed, reach out to the sinus care specialists at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat. You can contact the office through the appointment hotline at 307-672-0290, as well as the online booking link on this page. Don’t let winter get the best of you.