3 fall illnesses and how to prevent them

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville family medical practices say the fall season typically brings several health issues, but this year some of the symptoms overlap with those of COVID-19.

With symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat, Bon Secours St. Francis Nurse Practitioner Heather Lejune said the flu is one of three common illnesses that increase in the fall. That’s why she said getting a flu vaccine is even more important this year to prevent clinic overflow.

“Ideally, vaccinations should be given before the onset of flu activity in the community and that would be around right now,” she said.

She is often asked whether getting a flu vaccine can lead to contraction of the flu, but says that has been medically proven to be a myth. The CDC reports that flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness and are made with either inactivated (killed) viruses, or with only a single protein from the flu virus. 

A second common fall illness is seasonal allergies, which for the past three weeks has already started to cause an increase in patients with sore throat, she said.

“Of course, everyone right now thinks they have COVID-19, but they had literally no other symptoms… they will have that post nasal drip and that’s actually what makes your throat hurt,” she explained.

Greenville is a hotspot for ragweed pollen Lejune added, so she recommends asking your doctor for an over-the-counter allergy medication recommendation if you’re allergic.

“It’s not a bad time to go ahead and take that medication and you can prevent that flare up,” she suggested.

Finally, she said Raynaud’s Syndrome is common in the fall, resulting in a change of skin color. This is caused by cold temperatures or stress.

“Those patients are going to complain of the cold, feeling the pain its going to be more in their fingers and toes,” she said.

For prevention, she said those affected can simply avoid cold exposure and dress warmly.

If you think you may be suffering from this syndrome, reach out to your provider for further testing.

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