It’s going around: Illnesses spreading during winter season

When should you seek medical treatment? When should you just let it run its course?

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Germs and cold weather are largely to blame for the high number of people that have been, or are currently, under the weather. There are a variety of illnesses that people may be exposed to during these cold winter months.

“Couple of friends have come down with the flu and whatnot, family members have been getting sick. I don’t normally get sick, luckily, but I’ve had a little cold here and there,” Nicholas Clapper of Chicopee said.

“We’ve seen particularly with the snowstorms coming in recently, frostbite, hypothermia, which is pretty standard for this type of year. We’re also seeing a flu-like illness, whether it’s a viral syndrome or actual flu, we often don’t know,” said Dr. Niels Rathlev, the Emergency Medicine Chair at Baystate Medical Center.

Dr. Rathlev explains that it is often difficult to determine the exact illness without performing medical tests. And while he says you often have to wait for the sickness to pass, there are times when you need to see a doctor.

It’s important to seek medical treatment if you are experiencing fevers or muscle aches or pains; it’s particularly important for children and elderly individuals to consult with a physician if they are feeling ill.

“Everyone’s just getting the flu, and it’s something else- not only the flu, and it lasts maybe 24-48 hours if you’re lucky,” Leslie Headlee of Chicopee said.

Though it may seem like common sense, washing your hands or using hand santizer is the best form of prevention. And if you have to cough or sneeze, you should do so into your sleeve.

Dr. Rathlev told 22News it’s not too late to get a flu shot if you haven’t already done so.