Posted by Dr. Ty Babcock at January 6, 2019 9:43 pm Blogs, News, urgent care
Common Winter Illnesses in Nashville

Common Winter Illnesses in Nashville: Symptoms & Treatment

Illnesses peak in the winter as people stay indoors and have more contact with germs.  At Complete Urgent Care, a few illnesses have been the most common this winter.  Read on to learn about some of the most common winter illnesses we have been seeing as well as their treatment options:

 

Norovirus Onset & Symptoms 

Known for its awful symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, norovirus can strike any time of year, but is prevalent in the winter when everyone spends time inside.  Some of the most common locations to pick up a norovirus are schools, hospitals, hotels and airports.  Norovirus is highly contagious, so it is important to disinfect surfaces and wash hands when someone in the household has been infected.  

Norovirus Treatment Options

While there is no medicine to cure a norovirus infection, management of symptoms is important to prevent complications from it.   Antinausea medications can be prescribed by your physician.  Focus on getting as much fluid as you can to prevent dehydration.  If dehydration occurs, visit your doctor.  At Complete Urgent Care, our walk in clinic has IV hydration available for instances of dehydration.  

Strep Throat Onset & Symptoms

Almost all sore throats are caused by viruses, however strep throat is the result of a bacterial infection.  Strep throat is characterized by a severe sore throat and headaches.  Children often have fevers with strep throat, and some may vomit.  

Strep Throat Treatment Options

Because strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics can be prescribed to treat it.  A quick throat swab at your local urgent care clinic or walk in clinic will answer whether your sore throat actually is strep and can be treated with antibiotics.  Taking antibiotics for a sore throat that isn’t strep throat is not beneficial and not recommended.  Over-use of antibiotics is prevalent in the urgent care industry – especially with many utilizing telemedicine.  When you take antibiotics too frequently, your body develops a tolerance for them, and they become less effective for you in the future.  

Gargling with salt water does improve the symptoms of a sore throat as the salty water has anti-inflammatory properties and can sooth the pain.  

Respiratory Viruses/Colds Onset & Symptoms

Respiratory infections come from a variety of viruses and are easily spread in the air and on surfaces through coughs, sneezes and touch.  Symptoms include low fever, sore throat, running nose, coughing and sneezing.  Onset is usually gradual, over a couple of days.  Two common varieties of respiratory viruses are bronchitis and sinusitis (sinus infections).  With bronchitis, you can experience cough, wheezing and burning in the lungs.  It can occur with or without a fever.  With a sinus infection, you can experience pressure in the cheeks or forehead, severe nasal congestion and pressure in the ears.  These also can occur with or without a fever.  

Respiratory Viruses/Colds Treatment Options

There is no cure for the common respiratory infection, however symptoms can be managed at home with rest as well as decongestants, antihistamines and cough drops. Respiratory infections, while viral in origin, can become secondary bacterial infections.  Should symptoms last longer than a few days, or suddenly become worse, it might be time to visit a physician or your local urgent care clinic.   

Flu

Last month’s blog focused on specific details about the flu behavior we are seeing in our Nashville urgent care clinic this year.  Flu has made its way to Nashville, however activity is still localized to smaller areas.  We expect to see an increase in cases over the next few weeks.  As long at the flu virus is circulating there is still time to get a flu shot.  The immunization takes about two weeks to become effective, so don’t delay!  

There is often a lot of confusion between cold/respiratory virus symptoms and flu symptoms.  See the chart below to better understand the differences between their symptoms.  

Flu Respiratory Infection/Cold
Symptom Onset Quick Gradual
Fever Usually Present Rare
Chills Common Less Common
Fatigue Common Fairly Common
Body Aches Severe Mild-Moderate
Sneezing Not Typical Common
Cough Dry, No Mucous Mucous Producing
Stuffy Nose Not Typical Common
Sore Throat Less Common Common
Headache Common Common

So Many Illnesses, But Why?

Why do we see more illnesses in the winter than in any other season?  Historically people believed that the cold, wet weather promoted illness, however studies have disproven this.  Walking around outside in the cold with wet hair and bare feet is no more likely to cause you to become ill than walking around outside in the summertime with dry hair.  It is the virus or bacteria that makes us sick.  One theory to explain why more people get sick in the wintertime is that people spend more time inside and in close proximity with one another.  Coughs spread a significant number of viruses, so this closeness promotes the spread of illnesses.   Another theory to explain the increase illnesses in the winter is that the cold, dry air allows the droplets from coughs to float in the air longer than in the wetter, warmer air of other seasons.  

While we don’t know for sure why illnesses increase during the winter, they certainly do, and our Nashville urgent care and walk in clinic is here for you should you require our expert care this winter!  Complete Health Partners Urgent Care/Walk in Clinic is located at 6746 Charlotte Pike by the old log cabin and Costco, we offer urgent and walk in care 7 days a week from 9am-7pm. With our new online check in, you can select a time that works for you and get seen on your schedule. Offering both urgent care & primary care services to patients from Bellevue to downtown Nashville and from the Gulch to Kingston Springs – we are Nashville’s partner in complete health. We are locally owned and operated by ER physicians and pride ourselves on expert care, given efficiently!

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