Technically, the first day of fall 2016 isn’t until Thursday, September 22nd. With kids heading back to school, it’s time to prepare for those autumn illnesses that invariably pop up. Think of fall as winter’s opening bawl for illnesses, and you’ll be better prepared to handle all the sniffs, chills, coughs, sneezes and whatever else comes your way – in fact, you may avoid common fall illnesses altogether.
Increased Immunity: The Body’s Way of Preparing for Seasonal Change
Autumn has its own unique disease and illness concerns, but the falling leaves, cooler temperatures and onset of Halloween are similar to other seasonal changes, in terms of the biological response to external factors. Whenever one season ends and another begins, the body’s immune system strengthens in preparation for upcoming changes in weather patterns, total daylight hours and other season-specific variations.
This automatic immunity response is more acute during the autumn and winter, even in warmer climate zones (like Arizona and other Southwest U.S. areas). For regions that experience “the full four seasons” – the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, the Upper Midwest – the change from sweltering late summer to cool, crisp autumn is more pronounced. Hence, the immune system response is stronger.
Regardless of where you live, the good news is that your body already knows that autumn (or any other season) is approaching, and prepares accordingly. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for fall’s most common illnesses. Let’s take a look at which autumn maladies you should keep an eye on, and also review various prevention methods.
The List: Common Fall Illnesses
Mid to late September isn’t all about going back to school, football games and fall foliage – this time period also ushers in a few bugs, viruses and other sicknesses. Here are some of the most common fall illnesses.
Winter doesn’t hold a monopoly on the flu; in fact, autumn is the time when the flu starts. Fall’s cooler temperatures often take us by surprise, giving the virus a chance to take hold. Thankfully, a flu vaccine can help prevent the onset of influenza. Best of all, flu shots are just $25 at all Urgent Care Extra walk-in clinics!
One of autumn’s most prevalent autumn stomach inflammation disorders, norovirus is a contagious virus that impacts more than 20 million Americans annually. Typical symptoms include cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
This fairly common illness is associated with autumn, as its most severe symptoms – poor blood flow, numb extremities, swollen hands and fingers, swollen facial features – are usually mild to non-existent in the spring and summer months. Raynaud Syndrome also exhibits acute symptoms in the winter, but autumn is when the pain and discomfort peak. This illness doesn’t necessarily go away from March to August, but for many people, it is most certainly one of the most common illnesses in the fall and, to a lesser extent, winter.
Some plants release pollen later than most. As a result, fall allergies are a common illness that affects millions of people in the United States. This seasonal ailment transcends regional boundaries, as pollen can travel hundreds of miles via weather systems and wind currents. The most common symptoms of fall allergies align with spring allergies: runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing and even congestion.
How to Prevent Illness This Fall
While no foolproof disease and illness prevention techniques exist, there is a 3-tier plan of attack you can employ to limit your chances of getting sick this autumn.
- Wash hands often – everywhere and all the time. The drop in temperature associated with autumn brings people indoors, and more close contact means more of a chance to acquire bacteria and viruses. The simple act of washing your hands (after meals, after shaking hands, before and during visits to public places) makes it harder for those illnesses to impact your health.
- Try the mini-quarantine. The word “quarantine,” to most people, immediately invokes images of government health officials, worldwide epidemics and eventual doom. Sensationalism aside, you can certainly limit your exposure to fall illnesses by following common-sense separation: minimize personal contact (especially with those who are ill), avoid crowds (if you can) and encourage a “healthy bubble” around your personal space.
- Isolate and separate personal items. Let’s take that “mini-quarantine” theory to another level. Just as personal space is a major consideration for avoiding fall illnesses, personal items are likewise crucial. Bathroom towels, kitchen utensils and other accessories should be used separately, whether it’s a college dorm, family home or elsewhere.
There’s isn’t an accurate quantitative assessment (yet) that illustrates, percentage-wise, how much these anti-illness practices and behaviors reduce the risk of getting sick. Everyone’s immune system works differently, and the multitude of viruses and infections are contracted in different ways. But there is a benefit to trying the aforementioned practices – you’ll not only lower your chances of catching autumn’s most common illnesses, but you’ll enjoy enhanced personal hygiene, too!
Urgent Care Extra: Your Source for Autumn Illness Cure – and Every Other Season, Too!
Urgent Care Extra is here to help with all of your seasonal illness and sickness needs. Our walk-in healthcare clinics, located all over the state of Arizona, provide effective, immediate relief from some of the fall season’s worst illnesses. But we’re not just available for fall-related sickness and illnesses; for year-round medical attention, Urgent Care Extra has everything you need for complete peace of mind.
From common fall illnesses to occupational medicine, from sports physicals to medical weight loss programs, Urgent Care Extra’s complete and comprehensive care gives you a decided advantage over traditional emergency rooms and doctor’s offices. Convenient hours, attentive customer service and affordable rates are just a few reasons that Arizonans have made the switch from the ER to Urgent Care Extra.
If you have any other questions about common illnesses during the autumn season, or you’d like to speak with one of our healthcare professionals, just give us a call at (480) 988-9108, or stop by any of our urgent care clinics in Arizona.