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Winter  health challenges. Here is a guide to some of the most common winter illnesses and how to deal with them.

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, shares insight into the nature of common winter illnesses and offers a helpful guide to their treatment. 

The winter months bring with them a symphony of health challenges. Colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses become more prevalent, casting a chilly shadow on our well-being.

“Winter illnesses can be challenging, but we can conquer them with knowledge and a proactive mindset. It’s all about staying informed, prioritising self-care, and embracing a resilient attitude,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

Read more on how to beat the winter sniffles here.

Influenza (flu)

Influenza spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include high fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and headaches.

Rest, staying hydrated, and over-the-counter pain relievers can alleviate symptoms. At the same time, antiviral medications may be prescribed in severe cases.

Common cold

The common cold is primarily transmitted through direct contact with infected respiratory secretions or by touching contaminated surfaces. Cold symptoms typically include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing, cough, mild fatigue, and occasionally low-grade fever. 

Rest, hydration, over-the-counter cold remedies, and pain relievers can help manage symptoms. Keep in mind that antibiotics are not effective against the common cold.

Norovirus (stomach flu)

Norovirus spreads through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected individuals. It can also be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and occasionally mild fever and body aches. Your primary focus should be on staying hydrated to prevent dehydration. Resting the stomach and maintaining good hygiene is crucial. Medical attention may be necessary in severe cases.  


Bronchitis can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection following a cold or flu. Often characterised by a persistent cough, symptoms can also include chest congestion, shortness of breath, low-grade fever, fatigue, and occasionally wheezing.

Rest, staying hydrated, over-the-counter cough suppressants, and anti-inflammatory medications can provide relief. Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacterial infection is present.


Bacteria, viruses, or fungi typically cause pneumonia. It can spread through respiratory droplets, inhalation of airborne particles, or blood-borne infection.

Symptoms include high fever, chills, chest pain, productive cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and confusion (in severe cases).  

Antibiotics or antiviral medications, depending on the cause, are typically prescribed in addition to rest, hydration, and pain relievers. Sometimes hospitalisation may be necessary for severe cases.

How to protect yourself from winter illnesses

Adopting a proactive approach and practising good hygiene are essential to protect yourself from winter illnesses.

“By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of contracting winter illnesses and maintain your overall well-being throughout the season. Remember, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment are key to staying well during the colder months,” concludes Hewlett.