The holidays are here which means plenty of time spent enjoying family festivities, but it also means the peak virus season. Viruses spread the quickest during the fall and early winter, which is why this is commonly referred to as cold and flu season. It’s important to stay informed and know what viruses are out there this time of year. These are a few of the most common viral diseases you could be at risk of catching.
Influenza, or the flu, is in full swing. Peak flu season varies slightly each year, but expert recommend getting your flu shot during the fall for the best protection. If you haven’t gotten your vaccine yet, it isn’t too late! It’s better to protect yourself now than not at all. Flu symptoms often include fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting, fever, cough, and nasal congestion. The flu can usually be treated without hospitalization as long as treatment is prompt and you stay hydrated.
The Common Cold
There is no vaccine to protect against the common cold, but you can lower your risk of contracting it by washing your hands regularly and paying close attention to your hygiene during the fall and winter. The common cold presents the same symptoms as the flu, without the fever and vomiting. The common cold should resolve itself with just over the counter treatments in 3-5 days. If symptoms last longer than that, you may have developed a sinus or ear infection in addition to the cold.
Rota virus is an example of a gastrointestinal virus. This virus presents with only gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal cramping. People who develop this or other gastrointestinal diseases can become dehydrated very quickly, so it’s important to seek medical treatment right away.
If you believe you have one of these or another viral condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. Your local urgent care or walk-in clinic is able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat most viral conditions. Urgent care centers are ideal because you’re able to receive the same treatment you’d find at an emergency room for a fraction of the cost and with much shorter wait times! Your local urgent care can also offer vaccines to help reduce your risk of contracting influenza and other viral conditions. It isn’t too late in the year to get your flu shot, so stop in today and get protected!