The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








What is it?

The flu is characterized by body aches, headaches, fever, weakness, coughing, runny nose, sore throat and loss of appetite. Symptoms can last for up to a month. The flu can be avoided with a flu shot or treated through rest, fluids, Tylenol, Advil, or antivirual drugs that might be prescribed by a physician. (Kennett emphasizes that any antibiotics taken must be finished as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics that are not taken in full amount can cause bugs to become resistant to them.)

People who develop strep throat will notice a sudden fever, an extremely sore, red throat, head and muscle aches, swollen glands, and white spots on throat and tonsils. Recommended treatment can include rest, getting fluids, Tylenol/Advil and antibiotics.

A common cold (or virus) may result in mild aches, a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, chest discomfort and/or a cough. Rest, fluids, time and Tylenol/Advil are recommended. Antibiotics will not help with a cold or virus.

A sinus infection is characterized by facial pressure, headache, thick yellow-green discharge, snoring, bad breath, tooth pain, nasal congestion, and a cold or flu that lasts two weeks or more. Recommended treatment? Again, rest, fluids, Tylenol and Advil and antibiotics are recommended.

Those with bronchitis will notice a fever, persistent cough, thick discharge, pain in upper chest, and difficulty in breathing. Antibiotics may also be prescribed by a doctor, but again, but rest, fluids, Tylenol, Advil or cough medicine can help in the recovery process.

People with pneumonia may develop a fever, chills, shakes, chest pain, headache, cough, difficulty breathing, and/or extreme fatigue. Treatment includes rest, fluids and time. Treatment includes rest, fluids, medication, Tylenol/Advil and antibiotics.

As always, check with your doctor before taking medicine for any new medical issues or if you have any new medical concerns.

How to weather winter colds and more

By Kelly Sennott

’Tis the season of drippy noses and nagging coughs. It’s also the beginning of the new year: we’ve got resolutions to uphold and work to make up from our holiday vacations. There is no time to be sick!

The runny-nose blues can, however, be prevented, if certain precautions are taken.

Lynda “Wash ’Em” Caine, the Infection Prevention Officer at the Elliot Health System, first advises getting the annual flu vaccine. There are numerous places in New Hampshire to get vaccinated, but perhaps the most accessible places are local pharmacies. Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, Shaw’s-Osco and Concentra Medical Centers in Londonderry all offer flu vaccinations during regular hours. Visit for local flu shot spots. It’s also not a bad idea to keep an eye out for vaccination clinics, such as the Pediatrics Halloween Flu Clinic that Elliot Hospital that was held this past fall.

According to the State Department of Health and Human Services, pertussis, or whooping cough, is something else to look out for this season, Caine said. The Department describes pertussis as a serious disease, often known as the “hundred day cough,” which typically lasts seven to 10 days. The virus can be a problem for as long as 21 days. It’s characterized by bursts of frequent, rapid coughs, often followed by vomiting and exhaustion. While it tends to be mild in adults, at can cause acute illness in younger or older people. There has been an increase in the number of cases this year, Caine said, and it is highly contagious; however, it too can be avoided through vaccination.

A vaccination won’t protect you from everything, so it’s also a good idea to practice good hand hygiene.
“One of the best things you can do is to keep your hands clean,” said Karen Kennett, the Infection Prevention Director through Parkland Medical Center. “Wash your hands for a good 15 to 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand-rub.” Kennett also advises people to keep their hands away from their eyes and mouth.

“Fresh air and exercise definitely help prevent illness,” Caine said. “Stress, and the reasons leading up to stress, like lack of sleep, overeating, overworking, and over-drinking, all take a toll on the immune system and on our health,” she said.

It’s also important to keep things clean. Caine advises taking care to clean doorknobs, disinfect telephones, change pillowcases and towels frequently, and change toothbrushes or swish them in bleach whenever possible. It’s also not a bad idea to avoid getting too close to people this time of the year.

Young children are especially susceptible to the flu because their immune systems are not fully developed, and because they don’t have good hygiene habits, Caine said. Pregnant women, the elderly, and people in group settings (nursing homes, schools, prisons, etc.) are also more likely to become sick.

If you are one of the unlucky fellows to become sick this year, it’s really best to stay home, Caine said. A good rule of thumb is to wait 48 hours since your last fever (over 100.4) before you go about your regular daily activities, or better yet, wait until you’re symptom-free.

“With that said, I know that sometimes you cannot help but have to go to work,” Caine said. In that case, she advises sick work-goers to wash hands frequently, to stand six feet from others, and to use a germicidal wipe on frequently touched surfaces to disinfect them.

For a quicker recovery, Kennett advises patients to stay hydrated, drink lots of water, get enough sleep, and get plenty of vitamin C and zinc, which will all help shorten the duration of a viral illness.

But how do you know the difference between the common cold and a serious illness? How do you know when to get medical attention? Running a prolonged high fever (for more than 72 hours) or having difficulty breathing is a sign that it’s time to pay your doctor a visit.

“Most colds and viruses resolve themselves within seven days, and in that, you’ll usually feel better within five,” Kennett said. “If you’re not getting better within three to five days, or if symptoms are getting worse, it’s a good idea to get medical attention.”

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu