Is it the flu or cedar fever?

Is it the flu or cedar fever?

Is it the flu or cedar fever? This year, I would probably go with flu. As you can see from the map above, flu is so rampant this year and cedar pollen has been fairly mild this year. So, if you feel fatigue, sore throat, cough, fever, body aches, headaches – that all goes with influenza viral infection. Allergies will generally have less fatigue and no fever. (Of course, you could have both too.)

There was a nice article in the New York Times that discussed how drinking a lot of fluids and not lying down too much while you are sick are very important to recovery, which I certainly agree with. But what I liked most was an issue that I don’t think gets enough attention: overuse of OTC cough/cold meds actually works against you! The article states:

“That’s why your nose is runny and you start to sneeze and cough to clear out the detritus.

Given this, over-the-counter medications that suppress your cough and dry your sinuses may not be the best idea.

‘Certainly there is the thought that you don’t want to suppress a cough too much or dry out your nasal passages because you want to get rid of the infection,’ said Dr. Tara Vijayan, an assistant clinical professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine. ‘There’s a balance for sure. I don’t think you should suffer unnecessarily, but you need to weigh the true benefit.’”

I’ve been telling patients and parents this for the past 10 years and glad to see it in the mainstream media. In general, I want you to let your immune system do its thing and fight the infection, but also realize sometimes you just need some NyQuil to get a good night’s sleep!

–Dr. P

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