Colder weather can affect our lungs and respiratory systems quite significantly. Heading back to school is often the beginning of sniffles, coughs and colds, as students come together in large groups and start sharing viruses.
This may seem like a normal part of fall and winter life, but the risks are nothing to sneeze at. When upper respiratory viruses are severe, they can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Here are some factors to think about this coming winter:
The flu virus can be a serious health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the seasonal flu annually.
From 3,000 to almost 50,000 people in America will die of a flu virus every year. Very young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk.
This is another infection that can cause poor health, particularly over the winter months. The bronchial tubes become infected and inflamed, affecting the air going in and out of the lungs. This infection can cause longlasting coughing, fatigue, difficulty breathing and a lot of discomfort.
As is the case with flu, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are more prone to an infection like bronchitis. Bronchitis can also happen as a result of a common cough or cold. Smokers are more likely to get this infection. Antibiotics and cough syrups can help, but it’s important to note that coughing can last up to six weeks or longer.
"Walking pneumonia" sounds like some kind of giant, mobile virus has entered your body and taken over! But relax. You can scratch this term from your vocabulary. It’s simply a milder form of pneumonia that you can, literally, walk around with, rather than having to take to your bed.
Pneumonia happens when the lungs become infected via a virus, chemicals, bacteria or even fungi. Symptoms include coughing, fever, weakness and fatigue.