December 8, 2022

5 Illnesses to Look Out for This Winter

We all know that people feel sick and tired in January, and it isn’t always related to the post-Christmas blues. Each season has its own range of illnesses that arise during that time, and the colder months are no exception. Winter viruses are common around this time of year, and various illnesses caused by cold weather are about to become more frequent as the days get shorter.

However, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of you and your family suffering from a winter illness. For example, cough, cold and flu medication become harder to buy when the cold winter hits, so buying treatments before everyone becomes sick means you have the medicine and are prepared if you begin to feel under the weather.

Buying supplies is all well and good, but what are the illnesses you need to look out for? Take a look to see what viruses you should look out for this winter.

Common Illnesses This Winter


1) Common Cold

common cold illness

The common cold can be caused by over 200 different viruses, but the most frequent cause is the rhinovirus. This common winter illness lasts between a few days and several weeks, depending on which virus has caused it.

A typical cold is where the throat and nose are infected with the virus, although the ears can also be impacted. Symptoms of a winter cold include:

– Runny nose

– Low fever

– Chills

– Feeling tired and drained

– Scratchy throat

– Aching in various parts of the body

The common cold can be caught by touching a surface with the virus on it or if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs near you. 

This illness has no cure, but there are a range of treatments that can be used to help relieve symptoms, including antihistamines, cough drops and decongestants. If you spend this winter coughing, you can take Honey and Lemon Strepsils or Difflam spray to help soothe sore throats, and Contac Sinus Relief Tablets can help with congestion.

2) Winter Flu

symptoms of the flu

This is a common illness where your respiratory tract is infected with the virus. Your respiratory tract includes your lungs, mouth, nose and throat. This means if you are suffering from a sore throat in the cold weather, it could be from the flu. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, headaches, body aches, fevers and feeling tired. Diarrhoea and vomiting can also be classed as symptoms. The flu can be followed by a chest infection, which can lead to time off.

People catch the flu in a similar way to how they would catch a cold, meaning it can happen through touching a contaminated surface or through airborne droplets that come from someone sneezing or coughing. The flu virus evolves annually, which is why people can get the flu vaccination every year if they are entitled to it.

When does flu season start?

Flu season is determined to be between December and March in the UK, but people can suffer from this illness earlier or later in the year.

If you are suffering from the flu, it is advised that you rest and take medications to reduce the severity and duration of your symptoms. There are numerous medications you can use to treat the flu this winter, including:

Paracetamol effervescent tablets

– Ibuprofen – these come in a variety of quantities, including a 32 pack

Bronchostop cough pastilles

This is not an exhaustive list of the treatments available for the flu. When taking medication, ensure you read the instructions so you use them correctly. Taking medications can help to reduce the risk of complications from the flu. For example, uncontrollable coughing can cause injury, so suppressing coughs through the use of medication can help to prevent this.

3) Heart Attack

having a heart attack in winter

Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition, and it is more common in the winter because the cold weather increases blood pressure. This, in turn, puts more strain on the heart, making it work harder to keep the body warm as the temperature gets colder. The people who are at the highest risk in the winter are typically men aged 45 and over, and women aged 55 and over.

The symptoms of cardiac arrest can be hard to cope with and traumatic, and when not treated quickly they can lead to the loss of life. There are different tests you can take, such as a Heart Profile Test or a Cholesterol Test Kit, which can help you determine the health of your heart and whether or not you are at risk of cardiovascular conditions or problems, including cardiac arrest.

4) Norovirus

norovirus germ

Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is an infectious illness in the stomach that usually lasts for a few days. Catching norovirus is usually through eating food prepared by someone who is infected with the illness or by touching the mouth after coming into contact with a contaminated surface or item. Common symptoms of norovirus in the UK includes aching in the arms and legs, headaches and high temperatures, as well as diarrhoea and vomiting.

If you are vomiting with this illness, it is important to stay hydrated. Dioralyte is a medication that can help keep people hydrated whilst ill and can come in a range of flavours including raspberry, blackcurrant, citrus and plain. You can take Paracetamol tablets to help manage the pain, and Immodium Diarrhoea treatment is also available.

5) Earache

child with ear ache

Children are prone to suffering from ear infections, especially in the winter. They usually go away after 2 or 3 days without needing antibiotics, but ear infections can have a range of symptoms, such as a sore throat, no appetite, a cough, a runny nose, high temperatures and an earache on one side.

Earache can be caused by various things, including swimming and, for babies, teething. If your child is suffering from an ear infection, the likes of Calpol or ibuprofen can help to remove some of their discomfort. 2 months+ strawberry Calpol is ideal for infants, whilst 6 years+ strawberry Calpol can be used by children over the age of 6 years. Earcalm spray can also be used to treat ear infections.

Various illnesses are more common in the winter months, but you can be prepared for them so you and your family have the supplies you need to recover at home. If you find you are repeatedly ill, taking a vitamin blood test can help to determine if there is a way you can boost your immune system to help fight off infection. The Travel Health Clinic have Vitamin Blood tests and winter illness medication available that you can use to improve your immune system and treat cold and flu symptoms. Browse our products online to see how we can help you this winter.