Common Cold & Flu Treatments
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Stuffy nose, sore throat, persistent cough...ugh, it's the flu! Let's look at some common home remedies that can help.
Transcript: When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can...
When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can get - but sometimes you also want the comfort of being taken care of by mom. Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, but she's also a mom who raised two kids, one husband, and two golden retrievers. Today, Dr. Mom shares some tips for combating cold and flu symptoms. Although colds and flus are caused by different viruses, they have many symptoms in common. Regardless of whether you've got a cold or the flue, here are some ways to feel better faster. There a couple of basic things you can do to speed your recovery from cold and flu: * First, Drink lots of water. When you have a cold or a cough, you can often get very dehydrated without realizing it. Drinking water continuously throughout the day will make you feel better. Also, drinking water makes your mucus flow more freely and allows you to blow or cough it out of your system easily. Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day while you are ill. Second, get lots of rest. Being well rested helps your body fight off the illness, and if you're running around all day, it'll take longer to recover. So give yourself permission to get the rest you need - even if it means sleeping longer than usual. Also, if you have a cold or the flu, make sure to avoid dairy products, like milk or cheese, which increase mucus production. Chicken soup has been heralded as a cold therapy since the famous 12th-century physician Moses Maimonides prescribed it to patients. Sipping hot chicken soup can really help clear up congestion. In fact, many of the traditional ingredients in chicken soup are natural versions of the cough medicines and expectorants commonly sold in pharmacies. The bottom line is that your Mom was right: chicken soup is one of the best therapies for a cold or flu. If your throat is sore and scratchy, try gargling every two hours or so with warm salt water. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water, and gargle for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Salt relieves your discomfort by killing bacteria and reducing swelling, but it doesn't treat the underlying illness. If you have a fever over 100 degrees F or are experiencing achiness, try taking a low dosage of Tylenol, which is known generically as acetaminophen. Tylenol is an effective pain reliever and fever reducer. Tylenol is not the same as aspirin, but whenever I mention analgesics, I like to remind people never to give aspirin to children, as it can cause a serious illness called Reye's syndrome. * There are literally dozens of cold and flu remedies on the market and new formulations come out all the time. In my next segment I'll look at the over-the-counter treatments available, and help you decide what's best for you. In the meantime, I hope these tips help you and your family to feel better. Remember, if your symptoms don't go away after a couple of days, make sure to see your doctor. I'm Dr. Mom, and thanks for listeningMore »
Last Modified: 2013-06-06 | Tags »
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Feeling sick? You may have to see a doctor but sometimes getting a little rest is all you need. Check out our video for tips on when to see a doctor.
Transcript: When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can...
When you and your family are feeling under the weather you want the very best medical advice you can get - but sometimes you also want the comfort and simplicity of being taken care of by mom. Dr. Mom has been practicing medicine for over 30 years, but she's also a mom who raised two kids, one husband, and two golden retrievers. Most of the time when we are sick, we get better with rest and time. But sometimes, we need some help from the Doctor to get well. Dr. Mom has some tips on when you should go to the doctor. Having the cold or the flu is no fun. The good news is that most people recover from the flu in a few days, and from colds in a week. But not everything that seems like a cold or the flu is really that innocuous. Here are some symptoms to watch out for. If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms then you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. One unambiguous symptom to be on the lookout for is earache. If you have an earache, during a cold, chances are that you have a bacterial infection, and you will need antibiotics in order to get better. Another fairly distinct symptom to be on the alert for is green mucus. If your mucus is green, be sure to see your physician immediately, as this is often a symptom of pneumonia or bronchitis. Neither a cold nor the flu should not make you short of breath or cause pain in your chest. If you are experiencing either of these symptoms, it could indicate a more serious problem like pneumonia or heart disease, so please call your physician. Painful swallowing is also not a normal symptom of cold. It can often be the sign of an infection or injury that needs to be treated by a doctor. If you have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or a fever that lasts more than 3 days, then you see your doctor to make sure you don't have a secondary infection. Vomiting while you have a cold poses a serious danger of dehydration. Try to drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. If you are unable to keep the fluids down, you may need to go to the hospital to receive fluids intravenously. The other important factor to be aware of is time. The length of time that a cold or a symptom affects you is an important indicator of whether you need to see a doctor. For example, a typical cough is nothing to worry about, but a persistent cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks could be a sign of an infection. Similarly, congestion is a common cold symptom, but if your congestion does not go away with medication for several weeks, you may need to be treated for a sinus infection. See your doctor if either of these symptoms persist. If your cold lasts for "too long", that is also an important indicator that you should see a doctor. How long is "too long?" It depends on who the patient is. For newborns, any cold is too long. At the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, take your child to the pediatrician immediately. If you are pregnant, or nursing a baby, then if the cold persists for longer than three days it could be dangerous for you and the baby. For everyone else, cold and flu symptoms should run their course in 7 days or less. If your cold lasts longer than that, it is time to see a doctor. Remember, cold and flu symptoms are usually indicative of a comment ailment, so don't worry unnecessarily. But, it is smart to be on the lookout for indications that you might need a doctor's care, and respond appropriately. I'm Dr. Mom, and thanks for listening. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-06 | Tags »
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Having the flu not only poses risks to your health but to others' as well. And that means people miss school, work and other important activities. Watch this video to learn more about the flu’s impact on people health.
Transcript: Influenza vaccination is a tremendous tool in our public health toolbox. Every year we know that influenza's...
Influenza vaccination is a tremendous tool in our public health toolbox. Every year we know that influenza's going to strike in the United States. It's going to have millions of people miss school and work; tremendous loss of productivity. It's estimated that there's over 10 billion dollars of lost productivity from influenza in the US every year. We know that people are going to be hospitalized and unfortunately people are going to die. And so the impact of vaccination has a tremendous ability to lessen that burden of influenza. It's not going to lessen it completely. Influenza vaccines are not 100% effective but they're very good and they're always getting better. We're constantly looking to see what can we do that's even better so that more people are protected. Not only is the Centers for Disease Control a proponent of everybody getting vaccinated against influenza every year if you're six months of age or older but we have the interest level of the World Health Organization and all around the world and the public health agencies recognize that flu is such a potential problem that it's best to protect the public.More »
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Quadrivalent vaccines—or four-strain vaccines—are more widely available now than ever before. But are they more effective than three-strain or trivalent vaccines? Watch this video to find out.
Transcript: This year in the United States we're in the midst of a nationwide flu epidemic. There's still vaccine...
This year in the United States we're in the midst of a nationwide flu epidemic. There's still vaccine available in the pharmacies, the big pharmacy chains, the doctor's offices. The best thing is for people who haven't been vaccinated to speak to their pharmacy, their doctor and say, "I'd like to get flu vaccine." If they're interested, "Do you have the quadrivalent flu vaccine-the four strain?" If they do, great. If they don't, great as well if there's another flu vaccine there for them.The quadrivalent, the four strain vaccines, offer the opportunity, the potential to offer broader protection.Both trivalent vaccines and quadrivalent vaccines are safe an effective. And the best vaccine for the individual patient, the individual person speaking to their doctor or going to a pharmacy in asking for flu vaccine is the vaccine that's available there.The important thing is that there are vaccines available for everybody. There's something right for them.More »
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The 2014 flu is riskier for young and middle-age adults than it has been in recent years. Watch this video to learn why.
Transcript: Every year influenza is different. In fact, the only thing predictable about influenza is that it's unpredictable....
Every year influenza is different. In fact, the only thing predictable about influenza is that it's unpredictable. What we're seeing through these surveillance laboratories that are collecting samples all across the United States, number one right now we're seeing a nationwide epidemic-flu is rampant and widespread all throughout the United States. We're seeing people being hospitalized; we're seeing people missing work; and unfortunately we're seeing deaths and so flu is here and it's causing its problems. What we're seeing this year is that a great number, in fact a majority of cases of the hospitalizations-more than 50%--about 60% of hospitalizations are occurring in young to middle age adults.The reason for that is the strain that's circulating. The most common flu strain that's circulating of those four strains that I say typically circulate, the most common one this year is the so-called Swine Flu from the H1N1 in 2009 when we had the epidemic.The reason we're seeing a lot of disease is that people aren't being vaccinated at rates as high as we expect or desire. So of these young and middle age adults, which is where H1N1 tends to cause its majority of disease, only 30% of 18-45 year olds are receiving influenza vaccine thus far this season. That's a pretty low number. That's about 10-15 percent points lower than the population at large. And so they're susceptible to disease and these are people who are coming to work. They're around other people who are sick. They are around children. Young and middle age adults often care for their younger parents and again, they could spread or get from their parents. And so vaccination is a very effective tool in controlling something that can be absolutely devastating to the public health community as well as to the individual patient. And so vaccination is a very effective tool in controlling something that can be absolutely devastating to the public health community as well as to the individual patient.More »
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The Affordable Care Act is making it easier for more people to get vaccinated. Learn how by watching this video.
Transcript: The Affordable Care Act is a gift for people who want to take advantage of health and wellness benefits....
The Affordable Care Act is a gift for people who want to take advantage of health and wellness benefits. We now have millions of people who have access to health insurance they never had before. And the Affordable Care Act has a specific focus on providing health and wellness benefits including vaccination. So, influenza vaccination is part of the coverage under the Affordable Care Act. No copays are associated with this routine recommended vaccine. Other vaccines are covered as well. For adults in particular who might not think about vaccinations, there are vaccines protecting against pertussis or the whooping cough, for older adults-shingles, for older adults-a type of pneumonia, for people who have diabetes, there are opportunities for hepatitis vaccinations. So the Affordable Care Act provides a great opportunity to provide these vaccination benefits to individuals.And we should see many more people have the opportunity to get vaccinated at no cost because there's a choice out there for you, that's going to work for you and is going to provide the opportunity to be protected against an illness. And also to protect those around you as well.More »
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If you think you can go the season without the flu shot, you might want to reconsider. Check out this video to find out if you really need a flu shot.
Transcript: Influenza is a virus that can impact and affect everybody-doesn't make a difference if you're rich or...
Influenza is a virus that can impact and affect everybody-doesn't make a difference if you're rich or poor, if you're young or old, if you have underlying medical problems or you're a healthy person. Influenza can attack everybody and it's unpredictable. Just because you haven't had flu in the past doesn't mean you won't get it next season or even in this current season. And this is the reason that the Center for Disease Control recommends that everybody in the United States six months of age and older receives a flu vaccine every year-it's because it's unpredictable and everybody is at risk.More »
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The flu vaccine works differently for everyone. Watch this video to learn how flu vaccine side effects might affect you.
Transcript: All vaccines have what we call excipients, what we call ingredients, in them. And so people who have...
All vaccines have what we call excipients, what we call ingredients, in them. And so people who have a known allergy to the components of the vaccines should speak to their healthcare provider about what are their options. People with very severe egg allergies-influenza vaccines, the majority of them are still grown in eggs to start the process to grow the virus and there's some protein left over from the initial stages of growing the virus. Fortunately, this year for the very first time there's an option for people who have very severe egg allergies, particularly people 18 years and older-but there's an option for that group. People who are immunocompromised, on chemotherapy or drugs to suppress their immune system like, say, somebody with HIV infection, there are options for them as well. In fact, they can get the flu vaccines; they should get the flu vaccine because they're high risk for complications but there's a particular type of flu vaccine they should not get and that would be the so-called live attenuated flu vaccines. They are contraindicated for severely immunocompromised people.More »
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A lot of work goes into making the flu vaccine each year. Watch this video to learn how it's done.
Transcript: We know that influenza is a virus that is constantly evolving, it's constantly changing. So, all around...
We know that influenza is a virus that is constantly evolving, it's constantly changing. So, all around the world, the WHO-that's the World Health Organization-and local and regulatory groups like the Food and Drug Administration in the US set up what we call surveillance laboratories and so all throughout the year, people who have cold type of illnesses, when they show up to a particular doctor's office or a clinic, a sample is collected of their nasal secretions. And these samples come in to these laboratories and we're constantly looking for what kind of flu viruses are there so we can try to predict well what's going to be the flu strains in following season. There's a meeting always in February of the World Health Organization and then the Food and Drug Administration and that's when our best scientists choose what they think are the likely flu strains that are going to be circulating. We look to formulate those vaccines. We're constantly looking to stay ahead of what's happening because influenza is constantly changing.More »
Last Modified: 2014-03-04 | Tags »
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You may think that getting a flu shot is only necessary in the beginning of the season, but flu shots can protect you all season long, even after you've been exposed. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: The 2013 season, this year in the United States started up towards the end of December. The CDC is predicting...
The 2013 season, this year in the United States started up towards the end of December. The CDC is predicting that flu illness is going to stay high all through January, through February, perhaps even into March and so it's not too late to be vaccinated. There's plenty of vaccine available in the pharmacies and the doctor's offices and now's the time to be vaccinated. You might say, "well, why don't I just wait a week or two and see what happens in my community?" It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to really start to work once you receive it. Your body needs to respond to the vaccine, make an immune response and provide its internal protection. In the next two weeks people will be exposed to the flu so it's really important.More »
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You may have heard that the flu shot gives you the flu. But is this really true? Watch this video to find out.
Transcript: There are a lot of myths out there and I think the biggest one is, "I don't want to get that vaccine...
There are a lot of myths out there and I think the biggest one is, "I don't want to get that vaccine because it causes flu. I'm going to get the flu from the vaccine." Well, that's an absolute myth. It's impossible to get influenza from an influenza vaccine. It just can't happen. But what can happen when you get flu vaccines is that flu vaccination takes about two weeks to work and so if somebody was sort of coming down with something around the time they were vaccinated, they may think, "oh I had the flu" when they just had something else and it wasn't from the vaccine. Also, in some years there isn't a great match between the strains that are in the vaccine and what's circulating but this year, we know vaccines that are available in the United States-every single one has H1N1 in it which is causing the majority of disease. So this year we have a very good match to the vaccine. I think the issue this year is we need to get more people vaccinated.More »
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While there's no cure for the flu, you can treat its symptoms pretty easily. Check out this video to learn the best ways to treat flu symptoms and get faster relief.
Transcript: If you do have influenza, is there anything you can do to shorten it, make it not last as long? The answer...
If you do have influenza, is there anything you can do to shorten it, make it not last as long? The answer is no. It's unpredictable how any individual is going to react to influenza. Again things that can be helpful are keeping yourself hydrated, making sure you get enough rest, controlling the symptoms. If you're starting to get worse, speak to the doctor about getting, perhaps, antiviral medication to shorten that illness. But there's nothing you can do just by taking some magic something or other and it's going to shorten it. The antivirals can help make it a little less severe but they're not for everybody and they have to be done under the direction of a doctor. It's not something you can do over the counter.More »
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There's no question that the flu spreads fast. But just how fast does it spread? Find out by watching this video.
Transcript: Anywhere from two to four days is the typical incubation period where it starts to incubate in the body...
Anywhere from two to four days is the typical incubation period where it starts to incubate in the body and cause illness. Let's say you happen to know you're exposed to influenza because your brother or sister or mother has it or coworker and it was just two days ago. So the question you might say is, "well, I'm going to go get my shot today and that's going to help me." It's not going to help you for that particular exposure because the shots can take up to two weeks to really have their full impact. What it can do is protect you against other exposures during the season. And that's why it's just so important to be vaccinated because you just don't know what's going to happen tomorrow and you don't know what you were exposed to yesterday and vaccination is our best tool. And again, vaccines are available. They're in the pharmacies; they're at the doctors' offices. There really is no excuse. Start the discussion and consider getting vaccinated because it's the way to protect yourself.More »
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