During the spring season, a lot of people suffer from allergies. Summer brings about common diseases like poison ivy, Lyme disease, Coxsackie virus, hyperthermia, and swimmer’s ear. What about fall illnesses?
What is it about the season that makes people get sick in the first place? We will learn more about that here, and list down the ways for the top eleven autumn illnesses to be prevented.
Why We ‘Fall’ to Illnesses During Fall
Why do we fall to illnesses during the autumn season in the first place?
As the fall season starts, people get exposed to a sudden shift in humidity and temperature. Adults, then become more prone to getting the common cold because of the drop in humidity.
Kids spend more time inside the house, so they become more prone to allergies and illnesses. The dryness of the air also contributes to a dried out nasal passage. When it does dry out, more bacteria and viruses can enter someone’s immune system.
The good news is that similar to the changing of the seasons, the human body does its share of naturally adapting to the shifts in temperature. As the days get shorter, those who have a strong immune system can easily adapt and not get sick at all.
On the other hand, there are those who will get the occasional colds, flu, and other autumn illnesses.
Find out in the next section what these illnesses are and how you can prevent them.
11 Autumn Illnesses & How to Prevent Them
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the three factors which make some diseases prevail during the autumn season are heavy fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.
Here are the top eleven illnesses which start prevailing during the colder months of the year:
1. Bronchitis/Bronchial Asthma
Chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma are common during the autumn months. Bronchial asthma is what people typically call asthma.
It’s an inflammatory disease where the airway gets irritated, resulting to shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.
Still according to CDC, more than 25 million Americans suffer from asthma. Out of this, more than 6 million are kids.
Aside from allergens like pollen and dust mites, extreme changes in temperature may trigger bronchial asthma. This means that those who are suffering from chronic asthma might suffer more frequent bouts of asthma attacks during the autumn and winter season.
2. Common Cold/Flu
Next, there’s the common cold and flu. For what are perhaps the most common illnesses during the colder months of the year, the root cause is a weaker immune system.
The common cold can be suffered by itself or in combination with the influenza virus, so it really is a must to take measures in preventing the illness in the first place.
The upside, however, is that the common cold and flu that you are bound to experience during the autumn season is milder than what you can expect during the winter season.
3. Cold Sores
The definition of cold sores at WebMd.com is that they are ‘blisters on the lips and the edge of the mouth’. They usually break open, clear fluid is present, and may easily disappear after a few days.
The main cause is HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus infection, and even kids aged on to three years can be affected. Cold sores affect one’s ability to eat and some of the triggers are cold, flu, stress, food allergies, dental treatment, and hormonal changes in women.
Although there are no known cures for cold sores, they can be prevented by giving your immune system a boost during the start of the autumn season.
4. Dry Skin
Dry skin is a common enough condition especially for those who do not make a conscious effort to moisturize their skin. This skin condition does get worse during the autumn and winter seasons, because the humidity in the environment is low.
There are many ways to prevent dry skin during the colder months of the year. This includes taking warm instead of hot showers, and applying moisturizer right after bathing so that the natural moisture of the skin can be sealed in by whatever product you are using.
5. Heart Problems
Who knew that even serious problems like heart conditions can be triggered by the colder weather? Those who already have heart problems may suffer from cardiac insufficiency during the autumn months.
With a lowered temperature, the body of a person with heart problems struggles to adapt to the change, which can lead to difficulties with the heart and respiratory system.
Physicians recommend that those who are suffering from heart problems spend at least half an hour walking outdoors so that they’d get enough exercise. It is also a must to take the medications prescribed, and boost the immune system so that it can adapt to the changes in the environment.
After autumn comes winter, and this is when norovirus becomes common. Also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’, this is an illness that strikes the stomach which causes vomiting and diarrhea. It can actually occur at any time of the year but is more common during the colder months.
If you’re getting food from unreliable sources, you might be afflicted with norovirus which commonly occurs in areas where there are a lot of people consuming food from the same source.
Gym memberships spike after the winter season, typically because people gain weight during the colder months of the year. When it’s cold outside, all you want to do is stay indoors and sip some hot chocolate.
You barely notice any weight gain because of the layers of clothes you’re wearing, and you cannot do your exercises outside as frequently as you would during the summer season.
This leads to obesity which, when not addressed right away, can lead to various diseases like arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and liver problems.
8. Peptic Ulcer
Another food-related health problem which frequently occurs during the autumn season is peptic ulcer. Some of the underlying factors include chronic diseases, genetics, stress, alcohol, and smoking.
Peptic ulcer results to appetite problems, stomach pain, and vomiting. If you do get peptic ulcer attacks, the best way to deal with it is to have a semi-fluid diet where you will only consume soups and porridges.
Fruits like bananas and apples are recommended, as well as intake of fermented milk products to combat the acid taste in the stomach.
9. Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Simply called cold hands, this condition occurs when the fingers and toes change color and become very painful during cold weather. The pain will typically start once the temperature drops, then worsen upon the arrival of winter.
Your fingers can turn from white into blue or red, and there’s a tingling, throbbing sensation. It means that there is very poor circulation in the blood vessels of the hands and feet, thus leading to the pain.
For severe cold hands, medication can help but most of sufferers are able to live with the painful sensation.
Arthritis falls under the category of rheumatic diseases, something which can be triggered by the changing of the seasons. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by immune problems and those who already have this might be dreading the start of the autumn season, which is when joint pains occur.
Aside from pain, there could also be swelling, stiffness or unnatural warmth in the muscles. If you’re affected with rheumatism, it could be difficult for you to walk, dress up, comb your hair, sit, grip objects, or perform normal daily activities using your hands.
11. Sore Throat
Common during winter, sore throat is an illness that anybody can be afflicted with once the autumn season starts. This is mainly caused by abrupt changes in temperature, and is triggered by viral infections.
Gargling warm water with salt is a simple but effective remedy for sore throat, as long as it does not coincide with other illnesses like colds or flu.
So what can you do to prevent these fall ailments?
Similar to any other diseases, prevention is still better than cure. Once you know that the autumn and winter seasons are arriving, double up the measures that you are taking to keep your surroundings clean.
Always practice good hygiene and stay away from people who already have cough, cold, and flu.
Get enough sleep, eat healthy, and do indoor exercises if the weather outside is not ideal. Boost your immune system by taking vitamin C supplements and hydrate. Better yet, get your flu shots so that you would have that extra layer of protection against the cold weather.
Teach the kids how to wash their hands properly, something which you should also be doing as an adult. Do start layering on clothes and trade in your thin blanket for warmer comforter sets.
By doing these things, you can steer clear of the most common fall ailments.
Related: How to Save Money on Your Sick Days
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