This time of the year is usually focused on flu prevention since the common virus spreads at peak levels in wintertime.

Even though every person should get a flu shot and actively prevent the flu, there is a slew of other seasonal winter illnesses that can make your life extremely difficult. It helps your chances of staying healthy this winter if you know how to prevent other seasonal illnesses and when to seek treatment.

Here is a list of seasonal illnesses to watch out for this winter (besides the flu)!

Common Cold

Common colds affect billions of people each year but are easily mistaken by many as flu symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Unlike the flu, the common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract that is more likely to affect children than adults. The common cold is contracted thorough human-to-human contact and sharing of certain objects like towels or clothing. Common colds can lead to other health problems including asthma, acute ear infection, and other secondary infections.

To prevent the common cold, make sure to wash your hands regularly, use disinfectant or hand sanitizer, and use tissues when experiencing cold symptoms like coughing or sneezing. Pain relievers and over-the-counter medicines also help to manage common cold symptoms.

Norovirus

Norovirus infections are common during the winter seasons and are a result of people eating contaminated food, water, or contacting other contaminated surfaces, says the Mayo Clinic.

While most people usually pass norovirus through their immune system after 1-3 days, sometimes norovirus can lead to dangerous levels of dehydration. Norovirus presents significant risks to individuals with weakened immune systems and may cause malnutrition and death if unchecked.

If Norovirus presents significant health risks for you, make sure you’re actively preventing the disease by washing your hands, cooking food thoroughly, washing any fruits and vegetables, and by disinfecting any contaminated areas.

Strep Throat

Rates of strep throat surge during the winter season and usually affects children more than adults. Per the Mayo Clinic, strep throat may present greater healthcare risks such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever.

The common symptoms of strep throat include throat pain, fever, headache, painful swallowing, red and swollen tonsils, and nausea in younger children. If you or your child experiences these symptoms, then get to a nearby urgent care center as quickly as possible to begin treatment.

Keep your hands clean and avoid sharing personal items to prevent strep throat infection.