Cold and Sinus Infections
Cold and Sinus Infections invariably go hand-in-hand with winter. Snow isn’t bad for a month or so, and living in Michigan I do tolerate brief stretches of freezing temperatures. But for complete honesty, my favorite part of winter is that it always ends. Yet, for those days and months with freezing weather, everyone tends to huddle inside together and germs and viruses are increasingly spread. This can lead to the common cold or sinus infection.
Fortunately, the possible solutions for people with an infection have never been better. Now, before you rush to get antibiotics, consider some important points from this well-written piece:
- Between 90-98 percent of sinusitis infections are viral and won’t respond to antibiotics.
- At least 200 viruses can cause the common cold. None will respond to antibiotics.
- Only 5-10 percent of sore throat cases in adults are caused by strep throat.
Remember that coughs ad other URI symptoms can take between 7-21 days to resolve. The average duration of a cough is 18 days. You may just have to be patient. But do NOT get discouraged! The goal during this time is symptomatic care.
What can you do for symptomatic care? Ahem, FREE ADVICE!
- Minimize exposure! I am not talking about locking yourself in your house until winter ends, but keep washing your hands or using hand sanitizer as frequently as possible.
- Contain that cough and/or sore throat. Studies show that honey that is either by itself or mixed with a liquid works just as well- or sometimes better- than leading (and drastically more expensive) anti-sore throat/cough medications. Honey can safely be used in any children > 1 yr old.
- Nasal Steroids. When symptoms are bad enough to need a daily medication, these medications do a great job on reducing overall inflammation in the nasal cavity.
- Dunk your head in the ocean! Ok, just kidding. We are in Michigan. But make your own saline rinses and use the suction bulb as I detailed I while back.
- Hydrate. Your body will interpret hydration as fatigue. With all that mucous you are producing, you need to replenish it.
- Antihistamines. These are what most people think of as ‘allergy medicine.” While they aren’t quite as effective as nasal steroids, they act more quickly and usually work well.