What's Going Around

Bronchitis and sinus infections are keeping Linda Eckerson, family nurse practitioner at McLaren-Greater Lansing DeWitt Family Medicine, busy this week.

The primary symptoms of bronchitis are wheezing and a persistent cough. You may also have shortness of breath, fatigue and chest discomfort.

Acute bronchitis comes on quickly and gets better after two to three weeks without specific treatment. Rest, drink fluids, avoid exposure to irritants like tobacco smoke, and use a warm air humidifier.

You don't need antibiotics unless it's bacterial bronchitis. You should see a doctor if your cough is so bad you can't sleep, or if you have a low-grade fever for more than three days.

Eckerson is also treating sinus infections.

Normally, sinuses are filled with air, but when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs like bacteria, viruses or fungi can grow, and that's what causes an infection.

The main symptoms are: facial pain or pressure, stuffiness, nasal discharge, loss of smell, cough and congestion. You may also have fever, bad breath, fatigue, or dental pain.

If you treat a sinus infection at home early, you may avoid seeing a doctor and taking antibiotics.

Use a nasal saline spray or irrigation, take a decongestant, apply a warm compress, drink fluids and rest. If those home remedies don't help in a day or two, see your doctor.


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