Even though it is the time of the flu and seasonal colds, medical professionals warn about another virus going around. The most common symptom of this winter virus is a persistent cough, but there have also been numerous reports of illnesses, including gastrointestinal issues and respiratory infections.
According to Dr. Kenneth Patton of Bethesda North Hospital:
“Recently we have been seeing a big surge of the upper respiratory type of symptoms, the cough, the congestion, the feeling really short of breath.”
This cough leads to symptoms that can range from just a day in bed to a visit to the emergency room.
It usually develops slowly at first, and then gradually becomes problematic. The shortness of breath is very apparent when patients seek medical treatment, and Dr. Patton says that his patients face serious difficulties:
“They are retracting, their ribs are doing a lot of work. You can see their neck muscles, you can really see that they are having a hard time breathing.”
This illness can be experienced differently by people of different ages:
“A common cold to you and me, maybe a very serious pneumonia or illness for [elderly or children].”
Yet, the biggest problem is that the symptoms of this virus last too long, and the cough it causes just won’t stop.
Illnesses that last longer than a week are considered bacterial in nature, and bacterial infections are treated with IV fluid to rehydrate the body and medications. On the other hand, there is no treatment for this upper respiratory illness since it is a virus. You need to seek medical treatment if the symptoms become severe.
To ease your breathing during the winter season, and strengthen the immune system, you should:
- Maintain proper hand hygiene, since this habit prevents illness, including respiratory infections
- Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, that will supply the body with vitamin C, D, A, and zinc, as well as probiotics, which boost the immune system
- Take moderate exercise in fresh air to strengthen the body and avoid potential irritants
- Avoid smoking
- Getting enough sleep will heal the body and prevent illness
Additionally, here are some easy tips from Nottingham Post to help you cough-proof your home:
Sleep with extra pillows: When it comes to a night-time cough, gravity is the enemy. All the mucus you would normally swallow during the day flows back and irritates your throat as you lie down.
Keep the air inside your home irritant-free: Air fresheners and scented candles may seem harmless, but for some people, they can cause sinus irritation which produces extra mucus that leads to even more coughing.
The worst irritant in the air is smoke, so avoid cigarettes and any areas where there are smokers.
Stay inside in the warm as much as possible: Cold air can exacerbate a cough. So if you have a cold or other respiratory infection avoid being outside for too long.
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