Regardless of what time of year it is, there’s almost certainly “something going around.” While most common illnesses can be prevented through diligent care, the fact is we often neglect the simple tasks that help stave off infection, and end up paying for it a couple days down the road. While it’s almost guaranteed you’ll end up getting sick once or twice a year, the severity of your illness depends on how well you’ve been taking care of yourself, and how seriously you take your malady when it hits you.
1. Common Cold
As implied by the name, catching a cold isn’t exactly a rare phenomenon. It tends to happen during the transitional times of the year—the times when it’s warm one day and frigid the next (and then warm again later that same week! C’mon, Mother Nature!). After catching a cold, you’ll be plagued by a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion. You’ll most likely feel a slight headache as well, mostly due to these other symptoms. Of course, the best way to avoid catching a cold is to be diligent about washing your hands and avoiding others who may be ill. However, most people don’t let a mild cold stop them from performing their daily duties, which would explain why the illness spreads so feverishly. Speaking of fevers…
When you have the flu, you’ll know it. You’ll be struck with a fever, cold sweats, headaches, soreness, and overall exhaustion. “Flu season” usually hits throughout the colder months of the year, but this doesn’t mean it’s entirely avoidable in the summer. Obviously, you can avoid catching this awful disease by getting your yearly flu shot; but, again, many people shrug it off and don’t pay much attention to it—until they get sick. Once you’ve caught it, you absolutely should not go about your daily business, as you’ll run the risk of infecting everyone you come into contact with. Stay in bed, take a decongestant and antihistamines, and get some rest. And don’t let your symptoms go on for too long—call a doctor if the pain becomes unbearable.
3. Sore Throat or Strep
We all remember getting the cotton swab in the back of our mouths as kids whenever we came to the doctor’s with a sore throat. However, a pain in the throat is only one symptom of strep, in addition to swollen tonsils and Lymph nodes, as well as a fever. With strep, you’ll be put on antibiotics and told to stay home for a day or two. It should be noted that a sore throat does not necessarily point to strep (hence why doctors use the throat culture: to rule it out). If other symptoms, such as dry eyes, muscle aches, and diarrhea occur, it’s most likely a viral infection that must simply be waited out. Use cough drops, and drink plenty of tea with honey and lemon to alleviate the pain while you nurse yourself back to health.
4. Burning Stomach
If you’ve ever experienced stomach cramps, gas, and overall discomfort in your midsection, you know how debilitating it can be. A burning stomach can occur for a variety of reasons, from eating too quickly or unhealthily to drinking too much citrus. The best course of preventative action against these food-related stomachaches is to change your eating habits. First and foremost, you might be overeating without realizing it. It takes time for your stomach to send the message to your brain that you’re full, so eating quickly can lead to your stomach being overloaded, which, of course, will cause major cramps. Furthermore, eating the wrong types of food can have detrimental effects as well. Anyone who’s opted for the extra spicy sauce at their local Mexican restaurant will tell you how much they regretted their decision an hour or two later. Do yourself a favor, and watch what you eat!
On a more serious note, chronic burning in the stomach can be the sign of much more serious diseases, such as ulcers or kidney stones. If you’ve experienced burning in your stomach on a regular basis (and haven’t been punishing yourself with sriracha lately), contact a doctor immediately.
Featured photo credit: Sneezing – September 18 / Sollie79 via farm2.staticflickr.com