Tips for Preventing Sickness This Winter

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The holiday season brings colder temps, yummy food, parties, travel, general merriment…and germs. It’s the most wonderful time of the year- until sickness hits your house. Our friends at Next Level Urgent Care are here to explain why you are more likely to get sick in the winter, as well as offer tips on keeping your family as healthy as possible this time of year.

child sick in bedWhy Does Sickness Peak During Winter?

  • Cold, dry air: Viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and the common cold, thrive in cold, dry air. This is because the cold air dries out the lining of the nose and throat, making it easier for viruses to enter the body.
  • Less sunlight: Sunlight helps to boost the immune system, so people tend to be more susceptible to illnesses during the winter when there is less sunlight.
  • Spending more time indoors: People tend to spend more time indoors during the winter, which can increase the risk of spreading viruses. This is especially true for holidays and family gatherings.
  • Holiday travel: Holiday travel can also increase the risk of viral spread, especially within heavily trafficked transit areas like airports. 
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: Especially during the holidays, it can be tempting to let health and wellness fall by the wayside. A common decrease in healthy activity usually results in a spike in common illnesses.

Illnesses That Peak During the Winter

If you are going to deal with sickness in the winter, these are the illnesses you are most likely to catch.

  • Flu: The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.

  • Common cold: The common cold is another respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. It is the most common type of illness in the United States, and it can occur at any time of year, but it is most common during the winter months.

  • Bronchiolitis: Bronchiolitis is a respiratory illness that affects the small airways in the lungs. It is most common in infants and young children. Symptoms of bronchiolitis include a cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

  • RSV: RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is another respiratory illness that affects the lungs and breathing passages. It is most common in infants and young children, and it is most common during the winter months. Symptoms of RSV include a runny or stuffy nose, cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

  • Ear infections: Ear infections are especially common in children. This is because the cold weather can cause the Eustachian tubes to swell, which can trap fluid in the middle ear. Symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, fever, and difficulty hearing.

  • Sinusitis: Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, which are air-filled cavities in the skull. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergies. Symptoms of sinusitis include facial pain, pressure, and fullness, as well as a runny or stuffy nose, cough, and fever.

Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy This Winter
Despite the many reasons sickness peaks in the winter months, there are ways to keep you and your family healthy this time of year.
  • Get vaccinated: There are vaccines that protect against the flu and RSV. You can easily schedule needed vaccines at Next Level on their app or website!
  • Wash your hands frequently: Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick: If you are sick, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading your illness to others.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces: This includes doorknobs, countertops, and light switches.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: Winter month illnesses are common difficult given the influx of unhealthy foods consumed during the holidays. Do your best to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise routine. Your body will thank you!
  • Dress for the weather: Texas weather can especially be hit or miss. Check the forecast, dress appropriately, and make sure to bundle up during cool weather!

No matter how many precautions you take, illness is a part of life, and you may still get sick this winter. Next Level Urgent Care has fast, online scheduling available on their website. And for even faster scheduling, download their mobile app!

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Elizabeth Baker
Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of HMB, Elizabeth writes about faith, politics and special needs parenting for publications like Scary Mommy and HuffPost.You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, or


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