Conditions and Diseases
Swine Flu (H1N1/09)
Medication and Drugs
Cold and Flu
Questions and answers about the "Common Cold"; symptoms in the upper respiratory tract like sneezing, scratchy throat, and runny nose, but adults don't typically have fevers. Colds are usually caused by the rhinovirus (up to 40% of colds), or Coronaviruses (about 20%), but there are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Also questions about the seasonal flu, also called "regular flu", caused mostly by Type A and Type B Influenza viruses. Flu starts with similar symptoms as a cold only it hits faster and harder and usually includes fever in adults. Although the "stomach flu" is a common term, it is not a real diagnosis. The proper medical term for stomach flu is gastroenteritis (an intestinal disease, sometimes viral but also bacterial), it is often mistaken for influenza because the flu can sometimes include vomiting and diarrhea.
Asked in Cold and Flu, Body Temperature
Can you catch a cold from being in the cold?
No. For example, people in Alaska don't get more colds than people anywhere else. We do have more colds in winter than in summer, but not because of the cold (see more on why below). Cold weather conditions play no role except as mentioned below about absolute humidity levels in the winter. One of the expert scientists (Bill Nye) said that you can not catch a cold from being cold; you catch a cold from germs and being cold has nothing...
Why do you get Muscle ache with flu?
Muscle aches caused by a flu virus cannot be accounted for by fluid loss from excretions and emesis alone, because often muscle aches are the first sign of the flu, long before vomiting or diarrhea may ever occur (and they do not occur in most flu infected folk). Instead, it is the increasing body temperature (the fever that is one of the body's most effective responses for killing off heat-susceptible invaders) that causes an increase in water usage at the cellular level....
How can you protect yourself and others from viruses and flu?
How to avoid the spread of colds, flu, and other viral infections: THE SHORT ANSWER: For the flu, get a vaccination (flu shot or jab). See more below in the longer answer. For other viral infections such as measles, mumps, etc. there are also vaccinations that should be used. To avoid HIV/AIDS, or other viral sexually transmitted diseases and infections, always use a condom. See below for more. For a common cold there are no vaccinations, so you'll need to avoid anyone sick, stay at...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Strep Throat
How do you get rid of a sore throat?
If you have a sore throat, you should get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You should consider visiting a doctor, especially if your sore throat worsens, has spots, or continues for days. A humidifier or cold vaporizer can help as well to make the air more moist and soothing. One of the better home remedies for a sore throat is a salt water gargle. It is very soothing. Be sure that a child is old enough to know how...
Asked in John Quincy Adams, Cold and Flu, Strep Throat
What is Quincy throat?
Quinsy is an abscess between the back of the tonsil and the wall of the throat. It's also known as a peritonsillar abscess. It happens when infection spreads from a swollen tonsil to the area around it, usually during a severe case of tonsillitis. The symptoms of quinsy are similar to tonsillitis and include: * a worsening sore throat, usually on one side, * fever, * difficulty opening the mouth * difficulty swallowing * drooling rather than swallowing your own saliva and...
Can you catch the same flu twice?
If you are exposed to an identical version of the flu that you had previously after you have recovered fully from it the first time, then your body should have developed immunity to all genetically identical kinds of flu and you would not get it a second time. However, the flu can change by mutations and if it does change enough that the immune system no longer sees it as identical, then you would not have immunity to the mutated strain. This...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Symptoms, Sinus Infections
What does it mean when you see blood while blowing your nose?
that your having a nose bleed. if you get one: hold a Kleenex up to your nose, while pinching the uppermost portion of you nose , and holding you head down. If you are not bleeding a lot, it can be from cold air, dry heat in the house. I live in British Columbia where we can have rain and damp, then have freezing weather and the next day it's warm. Even the furnace being on in the house is drying. Look...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Swine Flu (H1N1/09), Tamiflu
How long are you contagious after taking Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine and is mostly used to help you get better once you have already caught the flu. It shortens the duration of the symptoms and makes them less severe when taken within 48 hours of your first symptoms. So, the criteria for when you can consider yourself no longer contagious is the same with or without Tamiflu. But the length of time can vary from individual to individual. According to the CDC, you can consider yourself no longer...
Asked in Cold and Flu
How do you treat a cold?
You know the drill: Drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, you've heard it a million times, but it does help. There is no cure for, or vaccine to prevent, a common cold, which is caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help a cold since they are for only bacterial infections. Fluids are needed to help loosen secretions, support your immune and lymphatic systems, and to prevent dehydration. Rest gives your immune system energy resources to fight the invader and make...
What is the current situation with the H1N1-09 Pandemic Swine Flu?
Update June 20, 2013: The CDC has issued the following media advisory: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted today, 13 to 0, in favor of recommending FluBlok during the 2013-2014 influenza seasons for vaccination of persons 18 through 49 years of age with egg allergy of any severity. FluBlok was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2013. Unlike current production methods for other available seasonal influenza vaccines, FluBlok does not use the influenza virus or chicken eggs in...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Drug Interactions, Vaccinations
Can you get the flu shot while taking Flagyl?
There is no drug interaction problem between the flu vaccine and Flagyl. But whether you get the vaccination while still taking the antibiotic may depend on why you are taking antibiotics. If you have a current infection, it is usually better to wait until that is cleared up before taking vaccines. But, each situation can be different, and this is a question that the doctor who prescribed the antibiotics should be asked to know what is right in your case. Unless there is...
Asked in Cold and Flu
How are colds and flu spread?
They are both spread the way many common viruses are spread, especially those affecting the upper respiratory system like colds and flu. For specifics: Spread of the common cold: You are most likely to get a cold if someone sneezes or coughs over you or near you. To avoid the spread this way, you need to stay at least a 6 foot diameter distance from the person. Cold viruses are in the air on respiratory droplets for a short time after a cough...
Asked in Conditions and Diseases, Cold and Flu, Swine Flu (H1N1/09), The Difference Between, Viruses (biological)
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
They are caused by different viruses and have slightly different symptoms. See related question below for the symptoms of the A-H1N1/09 "Swine Flu". The symptoms of the cold and flu can be hard to differentiate, sometimes not even possible without a specific laboratory test to determine which virus is causing your symptoms. See the related link below for more information on this from US Flu website, Flu.gov. The primary differences are: The flu usually causes a high fever and a cold doesn't cause a fever except...
How is the common cold spread?
You are most likely to get a cold if someone sneezes or coughs over you or near you. To avoid the spread this way, you need to stay at least a 6 foot diameter distance from the person. Cold viruses are in the air on respiratory droplets for a short time after a cough or sneeze. Although they can travel in the air for only a matter of seconds and for only about a six foot diameter around the person who...
Asked in Cold and Flu
How long after being exposed to the flu can you get sick?
Symptoms of the flu usually develop suddenly, about three days after being exposed to the virus. They include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and soreness and aching in the back, arms and legs ...
Why does your teeth hurt when you have a common cold?
The very tips of the roots of your top teeth sit very close to and sometimes in your sinus cavity. When you have a cold and your sinuses are blocked and inflammed it put pressure on the teeth which can be very sore. It does not cause any long term damage to the teeth but it can feel just like a tooth ache. ...
Asked in Cold and Flu
Who did the Spanish flu affect?
It was a pandemic, so it affected the entire world and all age groups, including the young and healthy. Because it hit during World War 1, many soldiers were sick with the disease and also helped to spread it around the world, as they came and went from home and battlefield. ...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Famous Quotations, Fevers
Should you feed a fever or starve a cold?
First, this is an idiom that is no longer considered good medicine. It comes from a culture from long ago before we understood pathogens, disease, and our immune systems. When you are ill with a cold, other upper respiratory infection, and/or fever, eat sensibly when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. Drink plenty of liquids. Rest in bed. You can treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medicines. Ask your pharmacist for product recommendations for your specific symptoms. See more in the...
Is it bad to lose 6 lbs in one day when sick?
Yes, you should contact your doctor. It can depend on what you are sick with, but whatever it is, you should consult your primary health care professional. It can be very bad for some people and not good for others. It likely does represent a loss of a lot of water weight because fat does not burn away that quickly. You are probably either dehydrated or at risk of serious dehydration from that. Loss of fluids in that amount from your...
What is the causative organism of seasonal influenza?
The human seasonal flu, as well as other types of human influenza, are caused by three types of viruses: influenza Types A, B, and C. Swine flu is caused by an influenza type A influenzavirus, for example. Type A flu viruses have been the causes of all influenza pandemics to date. Within each type there are mutations and countless numbers of strains and subtypes. The influenza viruses are RNA viruses that come from the family Orthomyxoviridae. ...
Asked in Cold and Flu, Vaccinations
Are you protected if expired flu vaccine was used?
Probably not. Each year the ingredients in the flu vaccine are different, because each year different strains of the influenza virus are going around. They have to make up a new vaccine each year, to be sure it contains all the right strains that will provide immunity for the kinds of flu that are circulating at that time. Since the vaccine for the seasonal flu for this year in the Northern Hemisphere has just been manufactured and released very recently, it would...
Asked in Cold and Flu
When you have cold sweats from the flu are you still contagious?
The rule of thumb is that you are contagious until 24 hours after your last recorded fever (when not taking fever reducing medicine). If your chills/cold sweats are due to fever, then you are still contagious. ...