Common Illness in Winter Season – And How to Tackle Them

29th December 2021 By Phoenix Hospital Group

Common Illness in Winter Season – And How to Tackle Them

When you think of winters, you think of hot chocolate, warm blankets, and playing in the snow, but that’s not all that cold weather entails. There are also several different types of illness in winter that you need to be careful about. Be it persistent cough, common cold, or a runny nose, medical experts recommend getting timely care so that you don’t infect your family. You can even get a health screening from a private hospital.

Let’s have a look at some common types of illness many people are prone to during the winter season and how you can prevent them.


Common cold or flu

You can catch a cold by touching a contaminated surface or even breathing in the affected air around you. A runny nose, scratchy throat, low-grade fever, lethargy, chills, and pains are common symptoms.

Most individuals will be contagious for about a week, beginning the day before they have symptoms. If you feel well enough to return to work within a day or two, wash your hands regularly and avoid close contact with people until your coughing and sneezing symptoms subside.


Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is when your inflamed bronchi start producing too much mucus. It can be caused by a cold or flu virus, so receiving a flu vaccination lessens your risk. If you smoke, have allergies, sinusitis, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids, you are at higher risk.

It tends to begin with a dry cough that quickly develops into a mucus-producing cough. Other common symptoms of acute bronchitis include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

Most symptoms will go away in two weeks; however, the cough may last a few months.



Pneumonia lung illness caused by viral or bacterial infection that can range in severity depending on age, overall health, and the cause of infection. Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weariness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Shortness of breath

Children under the age of two and people over 65 are the two categories at the most risk of acquiring life-threatening pneumonia. Both bacterial and viral pneumonia typically take one to two weeks to recover from. However, lethargy might continue for a month or more.

You can consult your doctor about pneumococcal and flu vaccines which can help lower the risk of developing pneumonia.


Stomach illnesses

If you have any of the common symptoms of stomach illness, it is important to remain at home as they are very contagious. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites are all potential causes.

Symptoms of stomach illness include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Usually, the virus spreads through person-to-person contact and contaminated foods. There is no specific treatment for it but drinking lots of fluids to avoid dehydration and getting plenty of rest can help most individuals feel better as they recover.


Cold feet and hands

In cold conditions, Raynaud’s phenomenon causes your fingers and toes to change colour and become extremely painful.

Fingers might change from white to blue to red, throbbing and tingling. The microscopic blood arteries in your hands and feet spasm, decreasing blood flow to your hands and feet briefly.

Medication can assist in extreme situations, but most individuals learn to manage their symptoms.


How to relieve symptoms of illness in winter

Stuffed nose – vaporisers can help you sleep better at night by releasing the mucus in your lungs and nose. You can also relieve symptoms using vapour rubs and saline drops.

Fever – get plenty of rest but consult a GP if the fever prolongs.

Sore throat – for children over 12 months, a spoonful of honey can soothe a sore throat. For older children and adults, gargling warm salty water is a quick and easy way to relieve symptoms.

Nausea – try tiny doses of electrolytes. For children, keep track of how frequently they urinate to see whether they are dehydrated.


Some tips to prevent illness in winter

  • Hand washing is always the first and last step in reducing the risk of common winter infections
  • Sanitizing gels, tissues, and wipes are handy to have in your car or bag when you’re on the road
  • To build healthful habits, encourage kids to cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of their elbow from an early age
  • Remember to sterilize toys with soapy water or sanitizing spray once a week. This is an excellent approach to keep you and your family healthy during the winter
  • To prevent germs from spreading, sanitise doorknobs, toys, and frequently touched surfaces


Book an appointment

Keep a close eye on your child’s appetite and activities. It’s time to contact your physician if they’re extremely lethargic, have a high temperature, are dehydrated, and/or have lost their appetite. To schedule a private health screening, get in touch.

To book an appointment with one of our GPs, call 0207 079 2100 or email