Is It a Cold, the Flu, or Pneumonia? Respiratory Physician Publishes Guidelines

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Sniffles and coughs abound this time of year, leaving everyone asking, "How serious is my cold?" "Is this a serious flu?" and "Should I see the doctor?" These questions are answered by Dr Lieske Kuitert, Respiratory Physician at the Lister Hospital, London in her newest article published by totalhealth (http://www.totalhealth.co.uk), entitled “Winter colds, flu, and chest infections - differentiating between the wintry ailments”.

Sniffles and coughs abound this time of year, leaving everyone asking, "How serious is my cold?" "Is this a serious flu?" and "Should I see the doctor?" These questions are answered by Dr Lieske Kuitert, Respiratory Physician at the Lister Hospital, London in her newest article published by totalhealth (http://www.totalhealth.co.uk), entitled “Winter colds, flu, and chest infections - differentiating between the wintry ailments”.

The article summarises the main features that differentiate between simple respiratory viral infections, chest infections and pneumonia, and more serious forms of influenza including swine flu, which will be of particular help to anyone suffering from the cold at this time of year. As Dr Kuitert explains,

You may have a cold if you experience:
Runny nose (the discharge may be clear or coloured),
Sore throat,
Fever and/or chills, and
Generally feeling unwell.

You may have the flu if you experience:
Symptoms similar to those for a cold,
Generalised muscle aches and pains,
Headache,
Fever, and
Extreme tiredness and weakness.

You may have pneumonia if you experience:
Flu-like symptoms getting rapidly worse,
Persistent fever,
A cough which may be productive of infected sputum, and
Breathing difficulties.

A chest x-ray will confirm if you have pneumonia.

Should you be tested for the flu?

As Dr Kuitert explains, ‘It is not necessary to test everybody during the influenza season; tests are generally restricted to selected hospitalised patients for both identification and infection control.

‘People in at risk groups are advised to have a yearly flu vaccination that will contain the most prevalent strains of influenza A and B and also swine flu. If you are not in an at risk group you do not need to be vaccinated unless you care for someone who would be at risk of becoming very unwell if they caught influenza from you (and they may be advised to be vaccinated too). Simple advice such as hand-washing after touching surfaces that other people have touched, using tissues to blow your nose, and disposing of them immediately are very simple but effective ways to stop the spread of the virus (“catch it, kill it, bin it” campaign).’

To read more, see the original article, “Winter colds, flu, and chest infections - differentiating between the wintry ailments” at http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/clinical-experts/dr-lieske-kuitert/winter-colds-flu-and-chest-infections-differentiating-between-wintry-ailments.

Totalhealth (http://www.totalhealth.co.uk) is a UK-focused online publication consisting of authoritative articles written by doctors about medical symptoms, conditions, and treatments to aid patients in making decisions about their health care.

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