Winter 2017: What's Going Around?

February 6, 2017

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Everyone knows that winter is peak time for contagious illnesses. While many believe it's because of the harsh winter weather, that really isn't the case.

In the colder months, people are more and more likely to stay indoors where they are exposed to more people, instead of germs diluting through the fresh air, they are contained in schools, daycares, and work offices.

So what exactly is going around this time of year? In addition to cold and flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is making the rounds, causing severe head colds in adults and even more tiring symptoms in young children. Another is the stomach bug, likely caused by norovirus. Often called the stomach flu, this illness is often unexplainable and comes on very suddenly. Vomiting and diarrhea can last as little as 24 hours, but can persist for a few days.

While some common winter illnesses may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, they are often tolerable. However, in some cases, illnesses can be painfully symptomatic, and may require medical attention.

If you find yourself with any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention from your community health clinic as soon as possible:

  • High-grade fever, typically defined as over 100 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Persistent nausea and vomiting for over three days

  • Difficulties breathing, beyond a simple stuffy nose

  • Any skin reaction (rash, hives, etc.)

  • Chest pains

  • Any symptoms regularly interrupting with your daily life

While cold, flu, and norovirus symptoms can affect anyone, there are certain people who are more susceptible to these illnesses, including:

  • Children under five years of age, but especially under age two

  • Senior citizens (over 65 years of age)

  • Pregnant women, or those who have given birth within the past two weeks

  • Those with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, blood disease, various cancers, or other conditions that require you to be under regular supervision of a specialist.

  • Those who have weakened immune systems due to medication or illness, such as HIV

  • Those who have a BMI (body mass index) greater than 40 or less than 19.

  • Anyone in a long term care facility, or is being treated at home for dementia

Primary care physician searching is very difficult these days, especially with such a shortage of medical professionals. To keep up with regular healthcare needs, data shows that we need 52,000 more primary care doctors by 2025 to meet our needs. However, most urgent care facilities allow walk in services which can help anyone receive care whenever the time strikes.

After hours urgent care facilities are able to provide necessary care on the patient's schedule. If you're looking for a walk in health clinic near you, search for any of the nearest AFC/Doctors Express Urgent Care Facilities.

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