A House Call for Common Winter Illnesses

It’s that time of year again. When everyone in the office seems to be sick, and the kids are taking turns bringing home every bug they encounter. Winter is the most common time for people to pass around several types of germs, making it difficult to enjoy time at home with loved ones.

So what to do if you or a family member is feeling ill this season? Order a healthcare house call from DispatchHealth of course! We’ve got the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and treat complex illnesses, as well as wintertime injuries and year-round health problems. Better yet, we accept most insurance. In fact, the medical cost for a DispatchHealth visit is nearly one tenth of the medical cost for an ER visit. On average, patients pay between $5$50 depending on their specific insurance plan.

Here are the most common winter illnesses and ways we can help you get through them.

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Colds

The common cold is called that for a reason. It’s incredibly easy to pass around, which means most of us have to deal with at least one each year. It’s a common misconception that a cold is caused by the cold weather. The real reason they’re more common in the winter months is that people tend to spend more time inside where it’s easier to spread germs around. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent the spread. It starts with good hand washing habits, but if soap and water isn’t available a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can also be helpful.

Of course, even the cleanest hands are no guarantee against illness. So what do you do if you wind up with a cold? Unfortunately, there is still no cure for the common cold, but there are ways to alleviate symptoms and lessen the severity of the disease. Our clinical teams will start by making sure it’s really just a cold and not something more serious. Then they’ll administer medications, breathing treatments, or even IV meds if necessary. 

Cold Sores

Cold sores actually have nothing to do with the cold, either temperature or the illness. But they too are more common in the winter months than summer. The virus that causes them actually lives in your body all year round, but you start to see symptoms when you’re feeling run down. Holiday stresses, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and too little sleep can all be contributing factors.

If you have a minor cold sore, sometimes a bit of ice or a cold compress is the easiest way to alleviate symptoms, but for many that’s simply not enough. Fortunately, our team can help with these frustrating ailments too. We can provide medications like antivirals, analgesics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to speed up your healing progress and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Nosebleeds

For many, the winter months bring on nosebleeds. This is largely due to the dryer air we encounter both indoors and out. A lack of humidity can be damaging to the membranes in the nose, and when that is coupled with excessive nose blowing from other winter maladies, nosebleeds are all too common.

Often simple nosebleeds will resolve themselves in a short while. For these, there is no need to seek medical attention as a few tissues are usually all that is needed. But if you’re dealing with chronic or severe nosebleeds this winter, reach out to our team. They’ll come to you at your home or office and can help by packing or cauterizing nosebleeds. It’s our aim to help you get back to your daily routine with as little disruption as possible.

The Flu

One of the most dangerous and yet easiest to catch winter illnesses is the flu. If you haven’t received a flu shot for this year, there’s no time like the present. But of course, even the flu shot isn’t a 100 percent sure way to avoid this painfully common disease.

DispatchHealth’s medical team can give you a conclusive diagnosis with a flu swab test performed on-site. We’ll then administer IV fluids if needed, prescribe anti-nausea or antivirals, and order further lab testing or chest x-rays as appropriate. But these treatments do the most good when you start them early, so be sure to call in our team when you first notice symptoms.

Joint Pain

Cold, damp weather can bring on aches and pains you don’t normally feel through the rest of the year. Those suffering from arthritis, those with old injuries that never completely healed, and plenty of others suffer from this weather-related pain each year. If you’re dealing with extra aches in the winter, remember to dress warmly and keep your core body temperature up. Adding good stretching exercises to your normal routine can also help alleviate aches and pains while keeping joints active.

If your winter joint pain is more than just a minor inconvenience, it may be time to call in some medical help. Our highly qualified medical teams are ready to meet you wherever you are to make sure that your pain isn’t more serious than simple winter-time aches. And if it does turn out to be more serious, we can help with treatment or order imaging for further diagnosis.

Norovirus

This highly contagious stomach virus tends to strike most often in the winter, with most outbreaks occurring between November and April. More than just your average bout of food poisoning, norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. It’s easily passed from person to person, so be sure to wash your hands often and practice safe food handling techniques.

If you do come down with norovirus, of course our clinical teams can help with this too. One of the biggest concerns and most dangerous complications of the virus is dehydration. Be sure to get plenty of fluids and if that’s not enough we’ll help with IV fluids to keep your system hydrated while you recover. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible, so if family members are ill, reach out for help early to keep complications from getting out of hand.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious respiratory infection that can be life-threatening in seniors, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. It typically forms as a complication due to a less serious malady like a cold or cough. Since there are so many respiratory bugs floating around in the winter months the instance of pneumonia rises greatly this time of year.

More than just a cold, pneumonia should be taken very seriously. If you suspect you or a loved one may have developed pneumonia, give us a call right away. We’ll help diagnose and treat your condition, whether it turns out to be full blown pneumonia or something less serious. If your ailment is bacterial in nature, we can treat with antibiotics. We also offer breathing treatments, and even IV medications and treatments when appropriate.

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About the Author
DispatchHealth Staff The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.