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Johns Hopkins Health - Fights a cold

Winter 2015
Issue No. 27

Fights a cold

Date: January 6, 2015

photo of Laura Brown, M.D

There’s no quick fix for a cold, even for a doctor. When I get sick, I treat the symptoms until the viral infection has run its course, usually in seven to 10 days. I try to get to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Soups and extra fluids are good—this prevents dehydration—but typically, I eat my usual diet. I like hot liquids, because the steam is helpful for congestion.

I take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for a sore throat and aches, and pseudoephedrine for congestion, though some people shouldn’t take them because of interactions with other medications or conditions. I’ll also use lozenges or guaifenesin to quiet any cough I may have.

When I have a cold, I take the time for extra hand-washing, particularly after sneezing, blowing my nose or coughing. I don’t want to get those around me sick.

Laura Brown, M.D., is an internist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in North Bethesda.

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