12 Common Illnesses That Peak in the Fall & Tips to Prevent Them

Aug 31, 2021


Family Health Care

12 Common Illnesses That Peak in the Fall & Tips to Prevent Them

Fall is the peak time for many viral illnesses, as the cold weather can suppress your immune system and increase your vulnerability to infections. Viral infections are easily transmitted and can be dangerous for the elderly, young children, and those with poor immune systems. Prevention is the best way to protect yourself from any transmittable illnesses or infections during the autumn season.

Keep reading to learn what are the 12 most common illnesses that peak in the fall, what are their symptoms, and how to prevent them.

1. Allergies

Ragweed and mold spores are the biggest allergy triggers in the fall. Although, dust mites are common during the humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall.


  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy sinuses or throat
  • Sneezing
  • Postnasal drainage
  • Temporary loss of smell
  • Snoring
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Ear congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing

Prevention Tips

  • Keep your home and car windows closed.
  • Search online to check the daily pollen counts in your area.
  • Search online to check the air quality of your city before spending time outside.
  • Take a shower after spending time outside.

2. Common Cold

Common cold can affect anyone at any time, but fall is the peak time. It is a communicable illness and can last from a few days to a few weeks.


  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches or headache
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat

Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, and especially, after using the restroom and before eating.
  • Keep your stress levels low, eat a balanced diet, and sleep well.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Avoid spending time in crowded places.

3. Flu

The flu viruses are common in the autumn season. If left untreated, the illness can become severe and turn into bronchitis or pneumonia.


  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden, excessive fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Wheezing and congestion
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Persistent cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest tightness

Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Do not spend time in crowded places.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Lower your stress levels.

Related Post: Flu Shot During COVID-19: What You Need to Know

4. Sore Throat

You may feel scratchiness or pain in your throat during the cooler weather, which results in sore throat. Sore throat is also a symptom of allergies, common cold, and the flu.


  • Hoarse voice
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Nasal congestion

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cover your mouth.
  • Don’t share drinks, foods, or utensils with others, especially if they are sick.

5. Norovirus

Norovirus causes stomach inflammation. It is extremely contagious and remains in full swing from fall through winter. It can be transmitted from person to person, or via contaminated foods, especially seafood.


  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling of sickness
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating or preparing foods.
  • Don’t prepare foods or care for others when you are sick.
  • Clean your restrooms and toilets with disinfectants.
  • Cook seafood thoroughly, as norovirus can survive temperatures beyond 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Relatable: Vomiting and Diarrhea: When to Seek Medical Help

6. Acute Ear Infections

Ear infections are caused by an inflammation or virus in the middle ear and are more likely to occur in the fall than other seasons. They can also result from other illnesses such as allergies, cold, and the flu. Ear infections are more common in children.

Related Blog: Headache Behind the Ear: Is It Serious?


  • Ear pain or earache
  • Loss of hearing in the affected ear
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fullness in the ear
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick

Prevention Tips

  • Stay in smoke-free environments and make sure no one smokes in your home.
  • Avoid putting cotton swabs into the ear.
  • Teach your child how to wash their hands thoroughly and other hygienic practices that prevent illnesses.

7. Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air into the lungs. It is usually caused by a virus and often occurs after a common cold, sore throat, or the flu. The viruses or bacteria that cause acute bronchitis to flourish in the cold weather.


  • Chest tightness or congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches
  • Cough that develops green, clear, or yellow mucus
  • Chills
  • Sore throat

Prevention Tips

  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay away from things that cause irritations to your throat and lungs such as pets, fumes, vapors, or dust.
  • Regularly disinfect doorknobs, countertops, and other frequently touched surfaces.

8. Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints that worsens with age. Arthritis is a year-round condition but people with arthritis report that cool and damp weather flare up their symptoms.

Related Blog: Raise Awareness for Juvenile Arthritis


  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in joints
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Tenderness in joints

Prevention Tips

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts.
  • Control your body weight.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your joints flexible.

9. Sinusitis

Sinusitis is caused by the inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinuses, the cavities around the nasal passage. Sinusitis is more common in the cold weather, simply because the most common causes of sinusitis, i.e., the allergies, cold, and flu, are already prevalent at this time of the year. The cold weather worsens the pain associated with sinus headaches.


  • Tenderness under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Teeth pain
  • Discolored nasal discharge
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever

Prevention Tips

  • Keep nasal secretions thin by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Keep your nose moist with saline sprays.
  • Manage your allergies.
  • Avoid air travel.

10. Cold-Induced Asthma

Cold and damp weather increases the risk of asthma attacks by drying up the airways. Common cold and flu, which are a common case during the cold weather, are the other triggers that cause asthma flare-ups during the fall.

Related Blog: Nocturnal Asthma: Facts, Causes, Symptoms, Triggers, & FAQs


  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in speaking and sleeping

Prevention Tips

  • Stay away from asthma triggers.
  • Quit smoking and stay in smoke-free environments.
  • Monitor your breathing and use quick-relief inhalers if you have difficulty breathing.

11. Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is essential for both physical and mental health, and it ensures proper growth and strength for bones. However, as we get smaller amounts of sunlight in the fall season than during the summer, we are exposed to the risk of developing Vitamin D deficiency.


  • Getting sick (by infections) often
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Bone and back pain
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Slow healing of wounds

Prevention Tips

  • Increase Sun exposure
  • Eat foods that are rich in nutrients (mushrooms, fatty fish, sea food, etc.)
  • Take Vitamin D supplements
  • Try UV lamps

12. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that affects many people throughout fall and winter. SAD is a serious disorder that can lead to clinical depression. There is no definitive theory or proof about what actually causes SAD; however, experts believe that it’s related to the hormonal changes during the winter season.


  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased desire to be alone
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Greater need for sleep

Prevention Tips

  • Self-care
  • Physical exercise
  • Vitamin D dietary supplements

Visit your physician as soon as you suspect that you are affected by any of these illnesses. You can experience faster relief and recovery by taking treatments at the right time. For immediate medical attention, visit our urgent care locations in Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Costa Mesa.