ways to prevent winter illnesses

    Published: December 16, 2015

    Top Five Winter Illnesses and How to Get Ahead of Them

    Winter brings with it a host of illnesses ready and willing to turn your home into a nexus of sniffling, coughing, and wheezing. You don’t have to submit to the annual barrage of winter contagions. You can take simple but effective steps to keep seasonal bugs out of your home – or at least minimize your symptoms.

    The Common Cold

    An upper respiratory viral infection, the common cold is a constant threat during the winter. There’s no cure for the common cold other than to let the bug run its course, but there are ways to prevent the seasonal sniffles.

    Regular hand-washing is your best defense. The cold virus spreads through airborne droplets propelled by sneezing or coughing and contaminates anything it lands on, including hands, doorknobs, utensils, and telephones. Hand-washing kills the bugs, preventing the virus from travelling from your hands to your mouth, nose, or eyes.

    If you do catch a cold, staying hydrated helps combat symptoms. Have a glass or water bottle of filtered water handy. Be sure to clean all utensils, plates, and glasses thoroughly to avoid spreading the disease to other family members.

    Sore Throat

    Often a symptom of a developing cold, sore throats can crop up by themselves as well. A viral infection is usually the culprit, but sudden changes in temperature can also trigger a sore throat.

    Again, regular hand-washing can help. If you have a sore throat, gargling with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of cool, filtered water provides relief by reducing inflammation. Staying hydrated also helps.


    Cold temperatures can aggravate asthma. Moving from a warm indoor environment to the chilly outdoors may trigger wheezing and shortness of breath to the point where some need to remain indoors on extremely cold days.

    Regular use of asthma maintenance medications is important during the winter. If you have to go outside, wear a scarf over your mouth and nose, and keep your emergency medication handy in a warm location such as an inner pocket.


    The only nice thing you can say about the norovirus is that it’s over quickly. This virulent stomach bug causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea accompanied by low fevers, muscle pain, and fatigue. Symptoms usually last a few days after which most people quickly recover.

    With vomiting and diarrhea presenting as common symptoms, the norovirus can quickly cause dehydration. Sipping filtered water can help keep you hydrated. Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, all of which encourage dehydration.


    While many people think of the flu as a miserable experience, they don’t always consider how dangerous the virus can be. The young, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions can develop severe flu symptoms, including bacterial pneumonia, muscle inflammation, and cardiovascular complications.

    You can limit your risk of contracting the flu by taking the following steps:

    • Get the annual flu vaccine.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose, especially after contact with a sick person.
    • Clean and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces.
    • Limit contact with sick individuals.

    Antiviral medication treats severe cases of the flu, but most people don’t need prescription treatments. Stay hydrated with plenty of clean filtered water, and use a saline spray for congestion. Antihistamines help with runny noses, postnasal drip, and itchy, watery eyes, although they can make you sleepy. Stay warm, rest, and drink enough fluid to stay hydrated.

    Disclaimer: The information on this website has not been reviewed by the FDA. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water.