Do you usually get sick during the winter? I'm afraid I get sick all the time!
I've gathered here some information about common winter sicknesses and health problems. But remember: this does NOT come instead of a visit to your doctor!

Most winter sicknesses (the flu, catching a cold, catarrh) are caused by a virus, and there is no medication for that. Actually, the body doesn't need medications. It takes a few days, including high temperature, catarrh and an icky feeling, but the body heals itself.
The problem with viral infections is that they might get more complicated because of an additional bacterial infection. In that case, you need to subdue the germs with antibiotics. Who decides? the doctor.
In a case of viral flu or cold it is important to drink a lot, rest, taken medications that will lower your temperature and be patient. In which case you should visit the doctor? when your sickeness goes on for over a week, when your temprature is very high or when the sickness comes back after you started feeling well.

This page has information on:

The Common Cold

Adapted from Thrive-On-Line : Health

A common cold is a contagious viral infection of the upper-respiratory passages. All sexes and ages can be affected by this sickness. The body parts involved are the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx and bronchial tubes.
This sickness can be caused by any of at least 200 viruses. Virus particles spread through the air or from person-to-person contact, especially hand-shaking. The risk for illness increases on winter (colds are most frequent in cold weather), for children attending school or day care, if a household member has a cold and in case of crowded or unsanitary living conditions. The infection may be facilitated by stress, fatigue or allergic disorders.

signs and symptoms:

You can try and prevent from spreading the sickness to others by washing your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose or before handling food, and by avoiding unnecessary contact during the contagious phase (first 2 to 4 days).

How to treat?

When should I call the doctor?

Call if the following occurs during the illness:

Influenza (Flu; Grippe)

Adapted from Thrive-On-Line : Health

This is a common, contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. Incubation after exposure is 24 to 48 hours. There are three main types of influenza (A, B, C), but they have the ability to mutate into different forms. Outbreaks of different forms occur almost every winter with varying severity.
Both sexes and all ages (except infants) are mostly affected.
This sickness is caused by infection of viruses from the myxovirus class. The viruses spread by personal contact or indirect contact (such as use of a contaminated drinking glass).
The risk to get infected increases with

Signs and Symptoms

How to prevent?

How to treat?

When should I call the Doctor?

Call your doctor if:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

adapted from the Seasonal Affective Disorder article at UBC Psychiatry Home Page

Many people feel mildly "depressed" during the winter, but some people have more severe bouts of feeling down all the time, low energy, problems with sleep and appetite, and reduced concentration to the point where they have difficulty functioning at work or in the home. We say that these people have a clinical depression , to distinguish it from everyday ups and downs. Seasonal affective disorder (affective is a psychiatric term for mood), or SAD, describes people who have these clinical depressions only during the autumn and winter seasons. During the spring and summer, they feel well and "normal"

The common symptoms of SAD include:

What treatments are available for SAD?

An new research finding is that many patients with SAD improve with exposure to bright, artificial light, called light therapy, or phototherapy. As little as 30 minutes per day of sitting under a lightbox results in significant improvement in 60% to 80% of SAD patients. Side effects of light therapy are mild, although people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications should avoid light therapy. Other treatments for depression, including antidepressant medications and counselling , may also be helpful for patients with SAD. People with milder symptoms of the "winter blahs" may be helped by simply spending more time outdoors and exercising regularly in the winter.

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