Cold & Flu

Cold & Flu Articles

Influenza alert: When you need an antiviral boost

People older than 65 or with certain chronic health conditions are at higher risk of serious complications from an influenza infection. Lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, dementia, and liver or kidney disease make a person more likely to develop serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia. Current guidelines suggest people at high risk consider taking antiviral medications if they contract flu. The medications in use are oseltamivir (Tamiflu), taken as a pill, and zanamivir (Relenza), which is inhaled. The drugs are also FDA-approved to shorten the typical duration of the flu, but only by less than a day. It may not be worth the risk of drug side effects like nausea and vomiting. (Locked) More »

Beware of possible risks from cold and flu remedies

Taking over-the-counter cold and flu remedies that contain phenylephrine plus acetaminophen may lead to high blood levels of phenylephrine. Possible side effects—high blood pressure and a fast heartbeat—could spell danger for people with heart disease.  (Locked) More »

That nagging cough

A persistent or chronic cough that lasts longer than a few weeks can be worrisome, but for nonsmokers, the most common causes include asthma, bronchitis, post nasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and medication for high blood pressure. Before you attempt to diagnose and treat yourself, review these red flags that call for prompt medical attention. More »

When to contact your doctor about flu symptoms

When you have the flu, at what point should you consider seeing a doctor? Most adults contact their doctors when they feel really sick. But that general advice doesn't work very well for the flu. Why is that? A lot of people think the flu is like the common cold, a minor and temporary illness. It's not. Just getting the flu makes anyone feel really sick for a few days. You feel physically weak, you have no energy, you ache all over, you have a fever. But if you rest and drink plenty of fluids, it usually will pass. That's why, even though you feel really sick, you usually don't need to contact your doctor. More »

Sinusitis

Millions of Americans get sinusitis each year. The key to a quick recovery is proper drainage, which is best achieved by staying hydrated, inhaling steam several times daily, taking decongestants, and sleeping with the head elevated. More »

No coughing matter

Experts say many over-the-counter cough medicines are ineffective, and that those suffering from a cold-related cough should take an antihistamine with a nasal decongestant. More »