Even without the worries of COVID to consider, Winter can be a challenging time when it comes to staying healthy. Like many other parts of our bodies, the ears, nose and throat are affected by the change in temperature and tend to be especially vulnerable to viruses and bacteria that increase in circulation at this time of year. Outside of anything that could be COVID, these are the three ENT symptoms that you need to be most aware of during the Winter months.
- The common cold. Colds are actually a virus that can cause a particularly nasty set of symptoms that many of us will experience at this time of year. One of the main features of a cold is a runny nose, as well as nasal congestion and a sore throat. Other ENT problems can include a sore throat and you may also experience symptoms that affect other areas of the body, such as a headache and a fever. Although the common cold can feel debilitating, for most people it should resolve within 7 - 10 days. Children are especially likely to catch a common cold during Winter - in fact, most children will get 10 or more colds in just a single year.
- The flu. This is another typical illness that we experience at this time of year, which is also the result of a virus. The respiratory system is the main target for the flu, which can leave you feeling weak and unable to do anything but rest for a week or more. ENT symptoms of the flu can include a cough and a sore throat but you can also experience the flu in many other different ways, including an uncomfortable fever, headache and muscle aches and pains. There is no cure for the flu and for most people it will simply be a case of waiting until the symptoms clear up. This should happen within 5 - 7 days. Annual vaccines are available to protect against the flu and are recommended, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable to it. It’s important to note that flu is contagious so if you have it, stay away from others for a while.
- Pneumonia. The ENT symptoms of pneumonia are very much the same as a cold and this is a condition that often appears to start out as something much less serious. However, pneumonia is a bacterial infection that can be dangerous and, unlike the flu or a common cold, will need immediate medical attention. Some of the ENT signs of pneumonia include a cough that keeps getting worse. You may also experience a fever that continues to climb and climb. For most people, pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics but the key is to ensure that you take action quickly to get help.
ENT symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose or a sore throat can be very common at this time of year. If you start to feel unwell then it’s important to establish quickly what might be going on.