How Are You Managing Cold Season?
Dr. Carlos Optimal Health Expert
After a relatively quiet Fall and Winter season, the new year has ushered in a new wave of cold and upper respiratory cases throughout the US. Emergency rooms are becoming increasingly crowded of late by patients complaining of coughing, sneezing, fever, aches, and general malaise. Perhaps you've been among the lucky ones to avoid such scenarios to this point, but if you read on you might be better prepared to keep it that way.
Viral or bacterial? When to pull the antibiotic trigger?
The biggest challenge doctors have is knowing whether they are dealing with a viral or a bacterial infection. Many patients can become desperate and sometimes downright aggressive in trying to get a doctor to prescribe an antibiotic when all they need are fluids and rest. Understand that antibiotics only work against bacterial infections and will not work against viral-induced influenza or the common flu.
Flu-like symptoms often run their course in 72 hours in a healthy body. Symptoms can include high fever, muscle aches, fatigue, malaise, and headache. Given the proper care (see below), flu should run its course without much fanfare. Now that's not to say it can not turn into a bacterial infection, but it's important to know the difference between the two.
When flu symptoms are ignored, and a patient continues to push hard, burn the candle at both ends, eat the same processed foods they were eating before getting sick, or perhaps smoking or drinking alcohol, bacterial infections can slide their way in. This is known as an opportunistic infection and in such a case, where symptoms are lingering or reoccurring for many days to weeks, an antibiotic might be considered.
But for the rest of us who would prefer a more effective strategy at preventing or treating the Winter crud,
As I like to say, if we can create it, we can heal it. Give your immune system a chance before rushing to the medicine cabinet.