Health Chats
Is It the Common Cold Or Something More Serious?
Tuesday Mar 17, 2009, 03:00PM - 04:00PM (EST)
Enoch Choi, MDBlank
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Urgent Care, Palo Alto, CA
Can you tell the difference between the common cold and the flu? How about bacterial infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia? According to the CDC, flu activity is just starting to pick up in the U.S. and could continue into April or May. <br><br> As an Urgent Care physician at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Dr. Enoch Choi sees quite a few cases of these viral and bacterial illnesses and he will be available to answer your questions live at March 17, 2009 3:00PM EST. Join Dr. Choi to learn about the flu vaccine, antivirals, antibiotics, and alternative preventative measures such as humidifiers, saline drops and sprays, herbal supplements, and honey and find out whether these treatments are suitable for children, the elderly and other high-risk groups.
Enoch Choi, MD:
It allows your immune system to be ready for all you throw at it diring the day
palo_alto_mom:
What cold medications are alright to take with emphysema?
Enoch Choi, MD:
they're all ok
Michael:
My doctor diagnosed me with the flu and said I also had an upper respiratory infection. Is it common to have this combination?  Doctor gave me Z-Pak and I developed oral thrush, which was horrendous!
Enoch Choi, MD:
A URI (upper resp infx) and flu can be the same thing /  but that's different from influenza.  URI is the common cold, influenza is a specific virus that's worse.  Zpack is azithromycin which is an antibiotic which doesn't work against colds, only bacteria.  You got thrush because you killed all of your good bacteria and yeast took over
AndiJ78:
The latest recommendations state no cold medications for children under age 4, some are considering age 6. Do you agree with this?
Enoch Choi, MD:
i think cold meds don't work well.  humidification, lots of fluids, and salt water irrigation work better
Cherie762:
What do you think about the new product called Nedi-pod the thing that looks like a little tea kettle and you put warm h20 in with a packet of whatever it is and pour it in one nostril and have it drain out the other nostril (this is for colds)?
Enoch Choi, MD:
netti pots are not new, they're thousands of years old, an ancient indian ayurvedic treatment.  it works wonders, just don'[t drown!
Enoch Choi, MD:
it works great for colds
Cherie762:
Do you personally believe in the flu shot? I used to work in a large hospital and it amazed me how many doctors and nurses didn't get the shot just because it doesn't cover every strain.
Enoch Choi, MD:
it covered this year's strains extremely well.  last year, not so well.  it's worth it since side effects are rare
mamaof2boys0608:
My 2 year old son just had open Heart surgery to close an ASD. Now he has a really bad cold and he is anemic from the surgery. What do you recommend I give him to help him! He also has the icky green snot, is that a sinus infection?
Enoch Choi, MD:
EW!!!  icky green.  hate that stuff
Enoch Choi, MD:
seriously, a cold is more risky for him because of his recent surgery
Enoch Choi, MD:
and anemia
Enoch Choi, MD:
lots of rest, humidifier, nasal saline rinses, and rest
mamasan88:
Hi Dr. Choi  - 2 part question:  what type of humidifier do you recommend?  And, you mentioned earlier that bronchitis may produce a greenish/brown phlegm.....if one has yellow phlegm is it OK to postpone a doctor visit?
Enoch Choi, MD:
i prefer ultrasound since it doesn't risk growing must&mildew on the sponge/blower type
Enoch Choi, MD:
yellow/green/brown phlegm can be viral or bacterial.  only your doctor's exam can tell.
nyydad:
My 2 year old son has had pneumonia twice within the last six months. It starts off as a cold, then the fever comes and then I take him to the doctor and twice it's been pneumonia. What could cause the colds to turn into pneumonia so quickly?
Enoch Choi, MD:
an initial viral cold can make it harder for a child to defend himself from bacteria which can cause pneumonia.  also viruses can cause pneumonia.  sometimes we call this "double sickening" by the illness after the initial viral infection
ea_poe:
I travel a lot for business and when I am even slightly congested, I have a lot of trouble with my ears clogging.  Can you suggest anything I can do to prevent this?
Enoch Choi, MD:
nasal salt water rinses, sudafed&afrin for less than 3-5days (addictive), and nasal steroids if you have allergies
mamafg:
How do you know the difference between a sinus infection and the common cold?
Enoch Choi, MD:
sinus infections have 3 or more weeks of fever, one sided sinus pain/pressure, pain that radiates into teeth
Enoch Choi, MD:
common cold feels awful all ower
Enoch Choi, MD:
for less long
kaymedium:
What's the big deal about pandemic flu? Isn't pandemic flu just like regular flu but affecting a larger number of people?
Enoch Choi, MD:
Pandemic flu is a special variation of the flu that spreads worldwide more quickly than anyone can do anything to stop it
Enoch Choi, MD:
that's why it's important to have resources ready at home for you to be able to stay more for 2 weeks which may be necessary to stop the spread of the pandemic
Enoch Choi, MD:
In the past century, it's happened 3 times, killing tens of thousands of people, and potentially millions