Cold and Flu

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    If you start to feel the sore throat, congestion and body ache associated with influenza (flu), what should you do? The first thing is to try to contact your primary care doctor and see if you can get tested for influenza. Some treatment you could do at home immediately include taking Tylenol, Motrin (to bring your fever down), drinking lots of clear fluids and getting plenty of rest.
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    A Family Medicine, answered on behalf of
    Flu season in the United States typically starts in October and can last through May. It usually peaks in the colder winter months of December through February. However, the viruses that cause the flu are hard to predict. We don’t always know what time of year the flu virus will become widespread, or if there’s a particular area where more people will become sick from the flu. 
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    You do not need an antibiotic if you have a cold. A cold is caused by a virus, and antibiotics do not help this kind of infection. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks and you have developed other symptoms such as a high fever, shortness of breath or intensifying pain, it is possible your cold has progressed to a bacterial infection. Your doctor may choose to prescribe antibiotics at that point. 
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    You don't need to go to the emergency room, or ER, for flu symptoms (muscle aches, headache, fever, and chills) unless you are pregnant, elderly, very young (infants and toddlers), or have a condition that weakens your immune system. Regardless of age or health conditions, these individuals are at a higher risk of complications from the influenza virus, and there are medications that can reduce the serious problems of influenza.
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    What Does the Color of My Phlegm Mean?
    The color of your phlegm can indicate the state of your health. In this video, Christa McQuate, MD, a family practice doctor at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals, describes what clear, yellow, brown or red phlegm might mean.
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    The flu is as an upper respiratory disease or infection that is caused by different strains of the influenza virus. Every year 15-40% of people in the U.S. develop the flu. Annually there are about 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations due to the flu or complications linked to the flu.
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    A , Emergency Medicine, answered
    Dr. Sampson Davis - Why should I avoid touching my face if I want to prevent colds and flu?
    You should avoid touching your face if you want to avoid cold and flu because the most common way germs get into the body is via the face. In this video, emergency medicine expert Sampson Davis, MD, explains why this simple tip is so essential.
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    Even though you are healthy, the flu vaccination is recommended because it can protect you from the ill effects of the flu. It can also protect people around you from contracting the flu. All people older than 6 months of age are recommended to receive the flu vaccination unless they have a severe allergic reaction to eggs or one of the components in the flu vaccine. Even healthy people can contract the flu, so it is best to try to prevent it with the flu vaccination.
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    Flu may be a threat to your health during flu season, and it is a particular concern for pregnant women who may be at risk for more serious complications from the flu. To help reduce your chances of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these steps:
    • Flu vaccines for all pregnant women in any trimester of pregnancy. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists along with seven other leading national maternal and infant health organizations say that getting your flu shot is an essential part of prenatal care. If flu vaccines are not offered by your obstetrics practice, they are widely available from multiple sources, such as drugstores and workplaces. Protecting yourself against the flu by getting the flu vaccine while you're pregnant provides protection for your unborn baby as well.
    • Wash your hands well and often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who could be sick with the flu.
    • Ask your healthcare professional about any other specific steps you should take while pregnant.
    In addition, continue all the things you're already doing to ensure a healthy pregnancy -- eating right, exercising moderately, sleeping adequately and managing stress. All will help strengthen your immune system so that it's better prepared to fight off any viruses that do come calling.
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    If you are pregnant, you should call your healthcare provider immediately if you have flu symptoms to determine if you need to be seen. Don't guess about what's causing your symptoms. Ask your healthcare professional for guidance.

    Report any of the following symptoms right away: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, decreased or no movement of your baby or a high fever that doesn't respond to medication recommended by your healthcare professional.