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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, October 26 2023

Common Illnesses Going Around This Winter Season

As the winter season approaches, it brings with it not only chilly temperatures and festive holidays but also a resurgence of common illnesses that tend to circulate during this time of the year. From the pesky common cold to the more serious threats like the flu and respiratory infections, staying healthy can be a challenge. 

In this article, we will explore the common illnesses going around this winter season, offering insights into their symptoms, prevention strategies, and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to these seasonal ailments. 

By understanding the prevalent health concerns of the winter's common illnesses, you can take proactive steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter season.

Flu Season

The flu, short for influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can affect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, and it can lead to a range of complications.

Prevention measures for the flu include getting an annual flu vaccine, practicing good hand hygiene, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you are sick to avoid spreading the virus to others. If you suspect you have the flu, it's advisable to seek medical attention, especially if you are at a higher risk of complications. 


COVID-19 is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, which can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, and body aches, among others. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and other life-threatening complications.

It's important to stay informed about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, as the situation and guidance can change over time, and public health measures may vary by location and region.


RSV is most prevalent during the fall and winter months, much like the flu. It spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it can also survive on surfaces for several hours, making it easy to contract. RSV typically causes mild cold-like symptoms in healthy adults and older children, but it can lead to more severe respiratory problems, especially in infants and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Rhinovirus & Norovirus

Due to their similar names, the first two are commonly confused, but there are actually many differences between the two. For instance, one affects the respiratory tract while the other impacts the stomach and intestines.

Here's the difference between each, and when you seek medical attention:


A rhinovirus infection is a viral infection that impacts the nose and can lead to the common cold. This type of virus can cause inflammation of the nasal passages, resulting in symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and congestion.

Typically, a rhinovirus infection isn't serious and will usually go away on its own within a few days. However, in some cases, it can lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia and ear infections.


Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus that leads to vomiting and diarrhea. It's possible to get norovirus many times throughout your life since there are a number of different types of the virus. The most common way to contract the virus is through contaminated foods and surfaces or from infected people.

You should recover from norovirus in a day or two with no long-term health effects. The most common complication of norovirus is dehydration, especially for those who have a weakened immune system already.

If you or your family are suffering from symptoms of these common illnesses, you should be seen by a medical provider who can give you a proper diagnosis and put you on a treatment plan immediately.

At Portland Urgent Care, we’ve got medical providers ready to serve you when it’s most convenient for you.

Illnesses and infections are more prevalent during winter months, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions to avoid getting sick. Here are some things you can do to help keep yourself and your family healthy this winter season:

Whether you’re suffering from an illness during the winter months or looking for ways to boost your immune system, visiting Portland Urgent Care can help keep you healthy this winter, and beyond.

Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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