Unfortunately, we have been seeing an increase in patients coming into the office with flu like illnesses over the last few weeks. We have decided to post a few tips on what to do to prevent coming down with the flu or a viral illness.
1. It is not too late to get the flu shot. We still have influenza vaccine for individuals over age 65, so please come into the office and get one. (I’m sure the local pharmacies still have shots for those who are younger than 65.)
2. The standard of care now is NOT to start antibiotics early in the event that you develop a head, chest, or sinus type of infection unless you are having a fever and have been getting sicker for over a week. (Antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the intestines that help our immunity, and it takes over 6 months for them to recover. Most of the time these illnesses are viral and antibiotics don’t work. Plus antibiotics increase the risk for clostridium difficle infection of the colon which can be fatal).
3. To avoid getting sick, follow the 3 foot rule. (Keep 3 feet away from anyone who is coughing or looks sick). Plus, if you do develop head congestion, use the sudafed products for only the first 24-48 hrs when your nose is dripping like a faucet. If you use it longer, then it will thicken up your secretions and make it harder for you body to clear the infection. Therefore, we recommend that you switch to mucinex 1200 mg 2x day (12 hrs apart), add salt water nasal spray every 2 hrs each nostril while you are awake, use flonase nasal spray (over the counter) 1 spray each nostril 2x day, increase your fluids, and increase the humidity in your bedroom or living space to close to 35%.
4. Tylenol is safe for the aches and pains, and you can take up to 2000 mg of tylenol over a 24 hr period in divided doses. Aleve, and the other non steroidal inflammatory drugs also help the aches and fever, but could increase your risk for an ulcer, HBP, renal problems, or even a heart attack.