Summer Cold or a Sinus Infection?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:07 AM comments (0)

Cold-SinusAt one time or another—and maybe even multiple times each year—we’ve all had the symptoms of a cold. But there's no worse time to suffer the symptoms of a cold than in the summer. The familiar prolonged running nose and sniffling, and the sinus pressure that comes along with it. How do you know if it’s just a common cold or a sinus infection?

Ilana Seligman, MD, Pediatric Otolaryngologist at NorthShore, breaks down the differences between a cold and a sinus infection, and tells us the right time to make an appointment with a doctor: 

Common Cold
There are not perfect steps to follow for cold prevention; instead, it’s best to wash your hands frequently, and avoid sharing cups and toothbrushes. If you already have a cold, there isn’t much a doctor can do because prescribing antibiotics is not recommended. You can, however, treat the symptoms. Most colds typically last 7-10 days, and common symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Sore throat or cough
  • Clear or colored nasal discharge

Treating the Symptoms

  • For a stuffy nose, nasal decongestants can help you breathe easier. If you want to go the more natural route, try a saline nasal sprays or even a Neti Pot. 
  • For cough, warm liquids, like tea with honey, can be enough to provide relief. The honey also pulls double duty by soothing sore, scratchy throats. 
  • Sleep! Rest is the key to bouncing back fast.  

Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is an infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities. Very few colds—only 5-10%—will turn into sinus infections. Common signs your cold is a sinus infection include:

  • Continued nasal congestion after 10 days
  • Significant headaches, teeth or facial pain
  • High fever or persistent drainage

If you experience these symptoms it may be a sinus infection, which means it's time to consult your physician. Common treatment often includes prescribing antibiotics.

Do you know when you have a cold versus a sinus infection? What home remedies to you defer to when you have a cold?

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Kid-Friendly Home Remedies for the Common Cold

Monday, December 23, 2013 9:00 AM comments (0)

common cold

It’s cold and flu season. There’s no way around it. If it hasn’t happened already, it won’t be long before the common cold and the flu start making the rounds at your child’s school. And kids in school are particularly susceptible because regular hand-washing probably isn’t at the top of their to-do lists. 

Parents, it’s the perfect time to prepare for the sick days ahead. Susan Roth, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, shares some effective home remedies for parents with little ones stuck at home with a bad cold.

What home remedies have worked for you?

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Home and Herbal Remedies to Help with Common Problems

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:34 AM comments (0)

Home Remedies

We don’t always have time in our busy lives to go to the doctor or pharmacy for common ailments (such as a cold, flu or upset stomach). In many cases you can help relieve symptoms with herbal remedies and treatment methods at home.

Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, a NorthShore Integrative Medicine physician offers some at-home tips to help cure common illnesses:

  • Common cold/congestion/sinusitis:
    Place a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a warm, wet washcloth. Fold the washcloth over and breathe in the vapors. Dropping some of the oil in the shower or bath creates a steambath that can soothe irritated airways. Avoid this if you’re sensitive to eucalyptus or dislike the scent.
  • Sore throat and spastic cough:
    Ingest a teaspoon of raw, locally sourced honey during a coughing fit or dilute it in hot water and drink frequently to soothe inflamed tissues in the throat. (Not recommended for children under the age of one year.)
  • Upset stomach:
    Place a warm water bottle on belly and perform a “Hara” abdominal massage. Start at the bottom right of your belly, move hands gently up under the right rib cage. Then move hands across to the left under the rib cage, and move them down the left abdomen to the lower middle of the belly. Drinking fennel, chamomile or licorice tea liberally will help soothe the stomach and aid hydration.
  • Cold sores
    Soak a Q-tip with licorice root extract (in glycerin base, not alcohol base) and apply the Q-tip directly to the lesion at the first tingling sensation. Do not touch the dropper to a used Q-tip. Dab liberally and often until resolved. This may also be used in the genital area during herpes outbreaks.
  • Mild, first-degree burns (skin is intact)
    Apply the juice and gel from an aloe vera leaf directly on the burn. To soothe the skin, alternate with calendula cream or ointment.
  • Diaper rash or irritated genital tissues
    Mix an A & D ointment or thick diaper cream with equal parts of calendula cream or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream into the palm of your hand and apply to irritated tissues twice daily. Do not use the hydrocortisone cream for longer than two weeks at a time. The A&D and calendula creams may be used long-term.

What home remedies do you use? Have you ever tried any of these home remedies?

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