What can you do this cold and flu season?
Focus on Prevention: wash your hands before eating or before touching mouth or eyes. Get a flu shot. Stay hydrated. Travel as little as you can in airplanes; carry hand sanitizer with you on planes.
What do you do if you get sick? Fluids, more fluids, rest, acetaminophen (500- 1000 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 6-8 hours can be very effective for fever, aches, and the blah feeling. Studies have even shown acetaminophen… get this…. helps existential anxiety?! Amazing how physical and emotional pain have common pathways in the brain.
What else could be wrong?
If you have a severe sore throat with no cough and you have pain with swallowing– see the doctor for a strep test and exam.
For a cough that becomes more productive after a week or ten days– see the doctor to rule out sinus infection, etc.
For shortness of breath, wheezing, see the doctor regarding asthma, asthmatic bronchitis or the equivalent.
Stiff neck along with fevers– go to emergency room to rule out meningitis.
Runny nose, mild cough, muscle aches– over the counter treatments– dayquil, nyquil, fluids, acetaminophen, steam, tea.
Exceptions: In the first 48 hours if high fever, headache, aches, (could be Influenza A or B) an anti virus medication called tamiflu may shorten illness duration, see doctor or urgent care. We can test for influenza in the office.
Most of these illnesses are self- limiting, but very annoying to healthy, active people. Antibiotics don’t kill a virus and most of the colds and flu are viruses. Antibiotics create bacterial resistance making it less likely they will work in the future AND can give you upset stomach, yeast infections, etc. They should be prescribed sparingly and appropriately.
Hang in there!