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Kristina Duda, R.N.

Cold / Flu Blog

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Are Cinnamon and Honey a Wonder-Cure?

Thursday May 22, 2014

Among the many incredible stories and articles I have seen passed around through social media recently, one that caught my attention makes the claim that a combination of cinnamon and honey can cure almost any ailment. From cancer to colds, it is supposed to be a little known miracle cure.

I am always surprised at the number of people that pass these things around without question or even knowing where the claims originated.

There are a number of reasons why this one is not a "miracle" or anything more than extremely poor tabloid reporting - the story actually originated in a Canadian supermarket tabloid. For many more reasons why cinnamon and honey are not the answer to curing your cold and flu symptoms see:

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A Terrible Stomach Flu

Thursday May 15, 2014

If you have dealt with vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and/or fever recently (or ever), you know how awful stomach bugs can be. They are always circulating in the community and outbreaks can sicken many people all at once. They typically highly contagious as well, making their way through families at a rapid pace.

Of course, the stomach flu is not related to the flu (influenza) at all. Although they are often confused and many people think they are caused by the same virus, they are actually completely different illnesses.

We all know the main symptoms of the stomach flu. Not many things can make you more uncomfortable than vomiting and diarrhea. There are a few other symptoms that you should be aware of as well though.

Have you gotten the dreaded stomach flu this year? Most everyone I know did. How did it affect you? Was it worse than other stomach viruses that you have experienced? If so, you have my sympathies.

MERS Update: Second Case Discovered in US

Tuesday May 13, 2014

The CDC announced yesterday (May 12th) that a second case of MERS has been identified in the United States. The patient is currently hospitalized in Florida and this case is not connected to the patient that was identified earlier in the month.The CDC reports that the person identified in this second case is doing well at this time and those who came into contact with him or her are being notified.

Both people that have been diagnosed with MERS in the US traveled from Saudi Arabia.

First US MERS Patient Discharged

The person that was hospitalized with MERS earlier this month in Indiana has now recovered and has been discharged from the hospital. Those who came into contact with him have been contacted and no further reports of illness connected to that case have been identified.

What You Should Know

The CDC and WHO public health officials believe the virus that causes MERS still poses very little threat to the United States despite the fact that two cases have now been identified here. Both people who had it came from Saudi Arabia and at this point there does not appear to be any evidence that the virus has spread to others in the US as a result of these two cases.

For more information about MERS, it's symptoms and what public health officials are watching for, see:

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Bronchitis or Bronchiolitis?

Sunday May 11, 2014

Two very similar sounding illnesses - bronchitis and bronchiolitis - are not exactly the same. They both affect the airways that lead to the lungs, but bronchitis is more common in older children and adults while bronchiolitis primarily affects young children.

Bronchitis

About Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is an infection that attacks the bronchial tubes which lead to the lungs. It most commonly follows another upper respiratory infection such as a cold or the flu. Bronchitis typically affects adults and older children.

About Bronchiolitis

Bronchiolitis affects mainly young children and can have a variety of different causes - most of them viral. It is one of the most common causes of wheezing in children. Bronchiolitis may be more serious and cause more difficulty breathing in young children compared to how bronchitis affects adults.

These two illnesses have some similarities but aren't the same. Bronchitis mainly affects adults and the most common symptom is a cough that can last for weeks. Bronchiolitis affects young children and is often characterized by wheezing and difficulty breathing due to swelling in the airways leading to the lungs. Be sure you know the differences between bronchitis and bronchiolitis before they affect you or your loved ones. You can find more information about each of these illnesses - including how to treat them - at the links above.

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Take the Quiz: Is it a Cold or Allergies?

Friday May 9, 2014

Spring is here and for many of us, that means allergies. But there are still plenty of germs out there causing colds as well. So how do you know if your runny nose, sore throat and itchy eyes are caused by allergies or a cold?

Fortunately, we have a quick and easy 10 question quiz that can help you figure it out. Find out what might be causing your symptoms and then see what you can do about them.

Looking for more detailed information on colds and allergies? We've got that too. Learn the differences between the two, what you should do if you think you have one or the other and how to get relief from your symptoms.

Allergy season may be here but that doesn't mean colds are gone. Know what you are dealing with so you can feel better as soon as possible.

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Should You Take Your Child to the Doctor?

Wednesday May 7, 2014

Parents often wrestle with the decision of whether to take their child to the doctor or not when he is sick. Kids get sick so often and many of these illnesses are viral and resolve on their own without treatment. No one wants to make multiple trips to the doctor just to be told there is nothing that can be done.

But then there is the chance that the illness could be more serious or actually need to be treated with antibiotics. How is a parent to know what to do?

We talked to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a prominent Pediatrician in Atlanta and put together a guide to help you determine when your child might need to be seen and when she probably doesn't. If you are struggling with the decision, there is a good chance you will find the answers you need here.

 

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What You Need to Know About the MERS Virus

Monday May 5, 2014

Have you heard about the new SARS-like virus that has been circulating in the Middle East and Europe and has now made it's way to the United States? MERS stands for "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome". It is caused by a variant of a coronavirus (you may also see it called MERS-CoV) and causes symptoms similar to SARS that was seen in Asia in 2003. MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

On April 24th, a healthcare worker traveled from Saudi Arabia to London to Chicago and then by bus to Indiana. Three days later, he developed shortness of breath, coughing and fever. Because of his symptoms and his travel history, public health officials tested him for MERS and isolated him in the hospital. Those who may have come into contact with him are being identified and contacted.

Symptoms of MERS include:

  • Severe Respiratory Illness
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

At this time, the CDC and WHO have not made any travel health warnings about traveling to the Middle East or surrounding countries. However, if you have recently traveled to an area with known cases of MERS and you develop a respiratory illness, you should contact your health care professional and tell them about your travels.

As of early May 2014, just over 400 cases of MERS have been identified across the world. Of those, 93 have died, making the fatality rate nearly 25%. While this is alarming, it has decreased from last year when about half of people that had been identified with the illness died.

For more information about MERS and to see what the CDC is doing about the virus, see the CDC MERS Fact Sheet.

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What is Tonsillitis?

Saturday May 3, 2014

Tonsillitis is one of those illnesses that we have all heard of but most of us know surprisingly little about it. What causes it? What should you do about it?

Did you know strep throat is one of the leading causes of tonsillitis? And how come some kids got their tonsils taken out and others didn't?

If you are looking for information about tonsillitis or a tonsillectomy, we have everything you need right here.

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Should You Buy Boogie Mist?

Friday April 25, 2014

If you have a child under the age of about 5 or 6, you have probably used or at least heard of Boogie Wipes. They are scented, saline wipes designed to make the task of wiping little, runny noses a little less uncomfortable. Kids and parents alike love them.Boogie Mist saline spray is just for kids.

Now the makers of Boogie Wipes have come out with a new product - Boogie Mist. This saline spray made just for kids has a scented "schnozzle" and is intended to help relieve congestion in young children without the fuss and fighting over sticking a plastic nozzle in the nose so you can squirt saline into it.

Boogie Mist is available at mass retailers nationwide. If your kids hate saline spray but you feel like it helps them, this might be a great option for your family.

Photo Credit: Little Busy Bodies, Inc.

Sore Throat, Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat that can cause pain, fever, headache and even abdominal pain. It is most common in school age children but can occur in people of any age.

Scarlet fever is the name given to strep throat when it also causes a rash - usually on the torso. It is not more severe or serious than strep throat, it's just an added symptom.

If you have a sore throat, it could be caused by strep or by something else. Sore throats are a common symptom of many illnesses, most of which are viral and don't require any treatment.

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