As summer ends and fall approaches we bring our lives into the indoor setting… families return from vacation, teenagers head back to school, and children begin their daycare. This is the prime reason for “sick season.” It is much easier to share sickness when we are in close quarters with each other than when we spend our time outdoors in the warm weather. Most of us will experience the “common cold” consisting of nasal congestion, drainage, sore throat, and cough. These symptoms are due to viral infections that are spread quite easily for instance, through sharing drinks or shaking hands. Most viral infections last 1-2 weeks and resolve on their own. Unfortunately, there is no cure for viral infections; only remedies for the symptoms of cough and congestion. Statistically, you are sick because you have a viral infection…but you will get better!
Most “colds” that occur during sick season do not need to be evaluated by your physician. There are certain circumstances that would require a visit, such as evaluation for the flu, strep throat, or pneumonia. The flu is best treated within 48 hours so see your provider if you have sudden onset of fever, body aches, and cough. Strep throat requires antibiotic treatment and we can test for this in our clinic. If you are experiencing persistent high fevers, chest pain or shortness of breath, you should have a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. Otherwise, most management is will Flonase for congestion, antihistamines for allergy drainage, cough suppressants for the cough, and ibuprofen/tylenol for aches and fevers.
Regarding antibiotics: this is a highly controversial topic between patients and providers. Many patients are accustomed to receiving antibiotics based on the color of mucus, severity of symptoms, or “I have always required them in the past” – all of which are inappropriate cases for antibiotics. A recent study has shown that almost 50% of antibiotics prescribed for upper respiratory infections were prescribed inappropriately. There are very strict guidelines put out by multiple medical authorities to preserve antibiotic use only when absolutely necessary so as to limit antibiotic resistance – which is a growing problem in our country. If you feel you require antibiotics, the conversation should be had with your provider.
Capital Medical Clinic offers acute care services if you feel you need to be seen quickly…please call to schedule at 512-454-5171.
Until next time,
David Hoch, PA-C