The winter season can be a difficult time for sickness and, in particular, ENT conditions. It’s at this time of year when colds and flu are much more prevalent and more of us tend to be harbouring and spreading viruses. There are some specific ENT conditions that are often worse in the winter - these are the key ones to look out for.
- The common cold. Many of us will get at least one cold a year - and this is completely normal. A cold can be caused by a number of different viruses and can have an impact on your daily life, from making you feel very under the weather to constantly blowing your nose. Most common colds will clear up in around 10 days and shouldn’t be too severe to deal with. However, there are also complications that can arise from a cold that it’s important to be aware of, including chronic sinusitis, which is a respiratory infection.
- Flu. It’s easy to confuse a cold with the flu - until you really do get a dose of the flu and experience how bad this ENT condition can really feel. Nevertheless, although the flu can be very unpleasant, for most of us it isn’t dangerous and drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest is all we need to feel healthy again. However, like the common cold, there is the potential for complications to arise with flu and these can be very serious, including inflammatory conditions of the heart and brain. The flu can also advance other conditions, such as heart disease.
- Strep throat. Like the common cold and flu, winter is the time of year when strep throat tends to spread the most. This is a condition that results from a bacterial infection and tends to be most noticeable thanks to a sharp throat pain that comes with it. Strep throat will often clear up on its own in around 10 days but the throat pain can be so severe that antibiotics may be necessary. There are also possible complications from strep throat - including rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation - that mean medication may be necessary. Plus, the faster antibiotics are taken, the more quickly strep throat will clear up and the less time there will be to spread the condition to others.
- Pneumonia. There are a number of different sources for pneumonia but this is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging ENT conditions likely to get worse in winter. It is a respiratory infection that can be viral, bacterial or fungal and can be a complication of the common cold, occurring as a result of inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. Symptoms tend to be a lot more severe because fluid collects on the lungs. Pneumonia can be very serious for those who are vulnerable, such as young children or those over the age of 65.
From the common cold to pneumonia, these are some of the ENT conditions that tend to get worse in winter.
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