LifestyleThe 7 most frequent viral diseases in winter (and how to prevent them)

The 7 most frequent viral diseases in winter (and how to prevent them)

Put on your scarf, drink orange juice, don’t get your feet wet… despite all the advice your mother gave you in childhood, It is almost impossible that every winter you totally escape from catching a virus.

The respiratory infections They are not exclusive to winter, but it is in this season when there is a perfect breeding ground for their appearance, from less ventilation to indoor meetings with other people, the conjunction of cold and humidity or the cessation of the use of masks. , extended during the pandemic.

The end of the restrictions caused an unusual increase in this type of pathology to take place last autumn: in October, the incidence of respiratory infections rose 100 points in a weekas collected Nius Diary. For that month of the year, there was an exorbitant increase in cases of influenza, bronchitis and laryngitis.

Having not been so exposed to influenza viruses, RSVs and other pathogens in 2 years, the herd immunity of the population has been reduced. In addition, the drop in body temperature reduces the functioning of the immune system, while heating affects the mucous membranes and cold causes the antibodies in the nasal fluid to function less well.

While people are more vulnerable when it’s cold, it makes viruses more transmissible and resistant: rhinoviruses, such as the common cold virus, reproduce more efficiently in cooler temperatures inside the nose (between 33°C and 35°C), than at body temperature, a Yale University study found.

Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable population groups. Especially in the case of children, their immune system is less developed, they tend to breathe more through their mouths than through their noses, and they also put their hands to their mouths a lot.

What, then, are the winter diseases most common or respiratory infections more frequent in winter? In this article you will find its symptoms and the best way to prevent its appearance or to calm its discomfort.

Common cold

Caused by respiratory viruses that produce inflammation in the throat and nasal area. Your cause may obey various families of viruses. It is estimated that half of the cases are caused by rhinovirus, less than 10% by coronavirus and occasionally by influenza A or B virus, parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus or enterovirus.

According to the medical encyclopedia MedlinePlusthe most common cold symptoms are runny nose or runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. There may also be a sore throat, cough, and headache. Although they can occur at any time of the year, the colds They are more frequent in the rainy or winter season.

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How is it contagious? Since cold viruses are spread by tiny droplets through the air when someone who is sick coughs, blows, or sneezes, if you are around someone with this infection, you can catch it. People are most contagious during the first 2 to 3 days of a cold. Recovery is usually around 7 or 10 days.

The Centers for Health and Disease Control recommend preventing the cold lwashing hands with soap and water frequently —for at least 20 seconds—, as well as not touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you haven’t washed them and staying away from people who are sick.

What to take for a cold? Some of the home remedies to combat the discomfort of a cold are honey, broth and hot drinks. About 200 grams of vitamin C a day also helps reduce the severity of symptoms. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, saline nose drops, maintain a good level of humidity, and of course, get plenty of rest.


The flu is a contagious and seasonal respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses They infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The people most at risk of serious complications are young children, immunocompromised people, and adults over 65 years of age.

It’s about the most common viral infection of the fall and winter months.

The clinical picture usually has a sudden onset. The most common flu symptoms They are headache, fever, malaise, and general muscle and joint pain. They also manifest respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat and runny nose, and occasionally, digestive, such as abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhea.

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General symptoms usually improve spontaneously in the first 72 hours, while the respiratory can worsen at that time. In general, the flu with symptoms usually lasts between 2 and 5 days.

The Centers for Health and Disease Control say that the best option to reduce the risk of influenza infection and prevent possible serious complications is to get vaccinated every year.

Some home remedies for flu are infusions such as Japanese honeysuckle tea or ginger, reinforce the diet with garlic or prepare a homemade chicken soup, whose anti-inflammatory activity is supported by science.


According to mayo clinic, bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and babies, which causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways of the lung, called bronchioles. Bronchiolitis is almost always due to respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

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It is a common viral infection in winter that inflames the lower respiratory tract and is more severe in children under one year of age. It usually starts with symptoms similar to those of a common coldsuch as a cold, nasal congestion, cough, or mild fever, but then progresses to coughing, wheezing, and sometimes shortness of breath.

Most children improve with home care, but a small percentage of children require hospitalization. Pay attention to whether your child’s breathing becomes more labored or rapid, especially if he is less than 12 weeks old, premature, or has pulmonary or cardiovascular disease.

other warning signs of bronchiolitis They are cyanosis – when the skin turns blue – breathing too fast when eating or drinking or looking slow or lethargic, as well as wheezing or bubbling breathing and lack of appetite and thirst.

For treat bronchiolitis at home, good air quality is recommended, administer fluids frequently and offer food in small amounts. It is also advisable to keep the child in a semi-recumbent position, at 30º with the neck extended and proceed to clean and unobstruct the upper airways with physiological saline or seawater.


The laryngitis This is inflammation of the voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation, or infection. According to Medical News Todaythe most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection, often similar to those that cause the common cold or flu, although singing loudly or yelling too much can also cause the vocal cords to become inflamed or irritated.

Most cases of laryngitis are viral and temporary, although long-standing chronic laryngitis also exists, while persistent hoarseness may be the underlying sign of serious undiagnosed disease.

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According to mayo clinicthe laryngitis symptoms They usually last less than 2 weeks and may include hoarseness, weakness or loss of voice, scratchy and tingling sensations, a dry and sore throat, and a dry cough. It is quite frequent in pediatric ages, from 6 months to 6 years.

For prevent laryngitis, do not smoke and avoid smoky environments, drink plenty of water, stay away from people with respiratory infections and wash your hands frequently. Some home remedies for laryngitis and sore throat are gargles, menthol candies, honey, herbal teas, and humidifiers. Also a nice steam shower.


another of the most frequent respiratory infections of viral origin It’s about the bronchitis,, an inflammation of the lining of the bronchi that carry air in and out of the lungs. Could be acute or chronic, being the water very frequent. The chronic usually occurs in smokers and is one of the disorders of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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The symptoms of bronchitis are coughing —with or without mucus—, chest pain, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, and mild headache. The bronchial cough is different from the pharyngeal cough of the catarrh.

What to do to prevent bronchitis? You will avoid cigarette smoke, get a flu shot —many cases are caused by the influenza virus—, good hand hygiene, wear a mask if you are vulnerable, drink more fluids, and avoid irritating products.

The home remedies for bronchitis they are similar to those of other respiratory pathologies: gargles of water and salt, citrus juice, ginger infusions to improve the secretion of the pulmonary mucosa, drink plenty of water and rest. Avoid exposing yourself to extreme temperature changes, take hot showers, and avoid harsh chemicals.


The tonsillitis It’s about the swollen tonsils, two oval-shaped masses of tissue located on either side of the back of the throat. The cause of most cases is a viral infection, although bacterial infections can also cause tonsillitis.

Between the symptoms of tonsillitis They include swollen tonsils, sore throat, tenderness of the lymph nodes in the neck, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes pus on the tonsils and fever. A scratchy, hoarse or muffled voice and bad breath are also common.

From Cigna they highlight whate tonsillitis, in most cases, lasts from 4 to 10 days. Depending on its origin, the use of antibiotics may be prescribed.

the best way to prevent tonsillitis are the main hygiene methods, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding sharing containers and food, or replacing the toothbrush. From Healthline recommend several home remedies: hot tea with honey, licorice pills or warm salt water gargles.


It has been on everyone’s lips in recent years, since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, and it continues to be one of the most common respiratory infections in winter.

In addition to basic health and hygiene practices, such as handwashing, the CDC recommends keeping up with vaccinations, improving ventilation, avoiding contact with infected people, and wearing a mask indoors, especially if you belong, as prevention measures. to a risk group.

According to the strain of SARS-CoV-2. the coronavirus symptoms They can be quite varied: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, loss of smell and taste, diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue, congestion, and runny nose or shortness of breath.


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