• Albert Takem

The Most Common Upper Respiratory Infections You Could be Exposed to this Winter

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Winter brings an abundance of joy with the holiday seasons. But you might be in for more than gifts this holiday season. As the weather begins to chill, you may find yourself falling ill. Studies show that between 5 and 20 percent of the population contracts the flu each winter. Other illnesses like upper respiratory infections run rampant during all times of the year. But infections seem to spike come the winter months. Here are three of the most common upper respiratory infections you may be exposed to this winter, and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. The Common Cold

True to its name, the common cold is definitely the most prevalent sickness in the winter. Symptoms may start within the first three days, but a cold can last for as long as two weeks. If you have or are around children in your daily life, you might want to be extra careful. Children are the most likely contractors and spreaders of the virus. You may feel fatigued, have a stuffy nose, chills, or run a low grade fever.

How to Prevent

  • Get plenty of sleep. Your immune system is lower the more your body is worn down, so be sure to get your beauty rest this season.

  • Wash your hands. You’ll do yourself a service by staying away from those with a cold in the first place, but wash your hands for extra protection.

  • Use eucalyptus creams and dehumidifiers.

  • Stay warm. Viruses love the cold.

  1. Sore Throat

Have you ever had the sensation of swallowing a pine cone? You might be experiencing pharyngitis, commonly known as “sore throat.” Symptoms include fever, headaches, nausea, trouble swallowing, or swollen tonsils. Many would say there are fewer nuisances than a sore throat. Dry mouth and difficulty breathing are never fun!

How to Prevent

  • Use alcohol based sanitizers. Be careful when touching objects in public, others who may be experiencing the above symptoms, and avoid touching your face or eyes.

  • Avoid sharing food. Many illnesses are spread via saliva.

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away. Always cover your mouth.

  1. Tonsillitis

If you survived childhood with your tonsils intact, you may want to be on the lookout. Tonsillitis is a nasty infection that causes ear pain, jaw pain, throat ulcers, fever, chills, and bad breath. Swollen glands in your neck and jaw can make it difficult to move your head or swallow. While children tend to get this more than adults, grown ups can still be affected.

How to Prevent

  • Replace your toothbrush regularly. Your toothbrush builds up bacteria over time, so be sure to throw it out at least every six months.

  • Gargle salt water if you feel pain coming on. This will make you gag a bit, but the salt will clean out any unwanted bacteria.

  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, or utensils.

While these are just a few upper respiratory illnesses to be on the lookout for, there are many other viruses and infections that can be prevented with similar practices. No matter what, be sure to always wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, don’t share food, stay warm, and get plenty of sleep. Come the holidays, you’ll know if you’ve been naughty or nice with your preventative methods. Let’s all do our part to stay healthy this holiday season!

If you have any questions about preventative measures for upper respiratory illness this season, call our office today! We’d love to see you for an appointment. Our staff is waiting and eager to assist you with any upper respiratory needs you may have!

Dr. Takem

Tel: 301-627-3500

Fax: 301-627-1634

14314 Old Marlboro Pike

Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County 20772


For your convenience we offer same day and next day appointments. Please call if you need to see your physician. If you have a medical emergency please call 911 immediately.

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