Have you ever wondered what to do when you are sick? Here are so basic guidelines to help you decide.
Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are of no use and can kill you. The infection can last 7-10 days, but some patients stay sick for up to 3 weeks. Zinc 100mg daily can reduce the length of illness. Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) can help a great deal with runny nose, sinus pressure, earaches, I like Allegra D the most, its a combination of a non sedating antihistamine combined with Sudafed. Echinacea and vitamin C have been shown to be of no benefit. If you are wheezing or you start coughing up colored sputum you should be seen by a doctor. You may use Afrin for up to 3 days.
Flu is best prevented. Everyone should get a flu shot annually. The flu is usually 102-104 fever and every muscle feels like its being hit by a sledgehammer. There are medications to shorten the duration of the flu, but they must be taken early in the course. You should be seen for wheezing or colored sputum. Antibiotics are of no help for the flu.
Cough can be caused by allergy and infection. The FDA has ruled that cough medication can no longer be phoned into a pharmacy; you’ll need to be seen for this. Wheezing often needs to be treated with steroids and inhalers. The over the counter medication dextromethorphan can be helpful, although side effects are an issue.
Sinus infections rarely need antibiotics unless there is a high fever and the patient is sick for at least 1-2 weeks. Treat it like a cold. Steroids, including nasal steroids, and prescription nasal sprays can help.
Sore throat is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics are of no help. Strep throat is a serious condition that does respond to antibiotics, usually accompanied by a fever, difficulty swallowing, white spots on tonsils and significantly swollen glands. You should be seen for a sore throat as it can become serious. The treatment is an antibiotic, usually penicillin, ampicillin or a Z pack. .
Diarrhea is also usually caused by a virus. Try over the counter imodium and avoiding dairy. If this doesn’t work you should be seen. If diarrhea is bloody, associated with a high fever or abdominal pain, you should be seen. If you have been on antibiotics in the previous 3 months you need to be seen.