How to prevent and treat common respiratory infections

The fall and winter respiratory illness season is off to a quick start. Due to the severity of the symptoms that they cause, Influenza (Flu), RSV, and the novel Coronavirus are the viruses that get the most attention. Rhinovirus, Adenovirus and other less virulent Coronaviruses are among the most common causes of seasonal respiratory infections.

Here are some suggestions on how to prevent and treat common respiratory infections:

  1. Start with the basics – a healthy diet, regular sleep, regular exercise, staying hydrated and NOT smoking
  2. Wash Hands Frequently
  3. Get a flu shot
  4. Get an updated COVID-19 Booster shot
  5. Consider wearing a mask in enclosed or crowded spaces
  6. Stay home if you are feeling ill to prevent spreading your infection to others. If you need to go out, consider wearing a mask.

What about Supplements?

  • Regular Vit. C supplementation may decrease the duration and severity of cold symptoms
  • Zinc supplements can shorten the duration of colds by a little bit
  • Echinacea has shown mixed results with the prevention and treatment of colds.

What about Antibiotics?

At least 80% of colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses. The vast majority of cold symptoms resolve within 5-10 days. We try to avoid antibiotics so that we don’t give patients unnecessary side effects and so that we don’t increase the chances that bacteria become resistant to our antibiotics.

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