With fall right around the corner, it’s important to keep an eye on the most prevalent illnesses that tend to pop up in fall and stick around through winter. Here are some of the most prevalent diseases during fall that you need to be mindful of:
The seasonal flu is ALWAYS one of the most common fall illnesses. People spend more time together indoors which perpetuates the spread of the virus, and often the general population is unaware that number of influenza cases really start to ramp up in autumn. Providers should work with patients to communicate an understanding of just how important the flu shot really is. Friendly reminders using patient portals and other tools may be enough to boost vaccination rates, which can be effective in mitigating more serious treatment later on down the road.
2. Seasonal allergies and asthma
Pollen and other particulate matter can be pretty common in the fall. This can lead to seasonal allergies among patients, and in turn, colds, bronchitis and other ailments that could be caused by an initial runny nose or sore throat. Individuals living with asthma may also find that the conditions in fall lead to more frequent or severe attacks. These patients should be educated on the risks. For example, rain storms that may be common in autumn can encourage some plants to release more pollen, to the detriment of asthmatics and anyone suffering from seasonal allergies.
3. Arthritis pain
Though arthritis is not a common fall illness, the Arthritis Foundation reported that cooler temperatures can lead to greater joint pain. Weather changes in fall can also be rather volatile, and a drop in atmospheric pressure has been linked to greater discomfort among those living with arthritis. These changes may also cause sinus problems and migraines, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
4. Raynaud Syndrome and heart disease
Raynaud Syndrome is one of the most common fall illnesses, with the most common symptoms associated with this disease such as poor circulation, numbness and swelling. Cooler weather can affect blood flow, and it can be difficult for the body to adapt. Individuals living with heart disease may even experience more pain or difficulty during autumn for similar reasons, according to the American Heart Association. Providers should use EHRs and other tools to identify at-risk patients.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder
This is a common illness that is brought on by shorter days and cooler weather. In many cases, depression can lead to problems sleeping and eating, and make a person more susceptible to illness. Providers should use engagement resources to encourage dialogue and understanding around SAD. Light therapy and other treatments are inexpensive ways for patients to minimize the effects of the disorder, keeping them out of the doctor’s office. A patient’s EHR may store information that allows a physician to make helpful reminders or suggestions in the early fall to mitigate any SAD symptoms.