How Long Do Flu Symptoms Last? 10 FAQs

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Doc, how call I tell the flu from a cold? Should I get seen? How long do the flu symptoms last? Both online and in clinic, I get a lot of questions about the flu. In this post I’ll answer some of the most commonly asked. Q: How do I know if I have the flu? A: When seeing a patient for aches, pains, and fever, here are some of the clues that make me think I’m dealing with the flu: […]

By | February 2nd, 2015|Infectious Disease|11 Comments

The Top 10 Most Popular Posts About Surviving Colds and the Flu

>> Looking for a meaningful last-minute gift? Click here for sales on my survival training courses. No shipping required. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH The difference between cold and flu symptoms is somewhat a question of severity. Whereas a cold may make you feel like you’ve just run a race, the flu makes you feel like someone beat you with a baseball bat along the way. A cold can make you ache and feel fatigued. You can feel miserable and even run a low-grade fever or 100 F or so. But the flu puts you in the bed (where you should be). If you don’t listen to your body and take care of yourself, you could end up in the hospital. People die from the flu. Just in time to celebrate the upcoming cold and flu season, here are my most popular posts about surviving colds and the flu for 2014. […]

By | December 22nd, 2014|Infectious Disease|2 Comments

H1N1: Your Flu Questions, Answered

Bonus post for the week, published now due to timeliness. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH The flu is in full swing, and this year, H1N1 is back. The virus previously known as swine flu, which caused the 2009 pandemic, is causing most of the infections in 2014 too. H1N1 is a particularly bad strain, and people are hearing all sorts of things about it—and have all sorts of questions. So I asked via Facebook and Twitter what you want to know. You responded with a lot of great questions. In this video, I answer many of the ones specifically about H1N1. For even more answers about the flu, scroll down. (If the answer to your question isn’t here, I apologize. I addressed as many as I could.) […]

By | January 15th, 2014|Infectious Disease|16 Comments

Is It a Cold or the Flu? How to Tell the Difference

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH One reason colds and the flu spread during winter is the same reason they’ll spread during a disaster: There are lots of crowds. Respiratory infections don’t care whether you’re in an emergency shelter after a flood or a crowded mall the week before Christmas; they’re just thrilled about the opportunity to multiply. As such, it’s a good idea to be able to differentiate a common cold from the full-blown flu. Why? Because usually with a cold, you get over it no matter what you do. The flu can be different, and the complications can be deadly. […]

By | December 16th, 2013|Cold, Infectious Disease|6 Comments

When Vaccine Fears Attack: My Response to the Immunization Controversy

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH You probably thought last week’s post was an innocuous little thing. The one about the study that suggested flu shots may help prevent heart attack and stroke in some people? I guess I thought many people think like me—“Hmm, that’s interesting”—and go about their business or delve deeper into the study to see what they make of it. I didn’t expect personal attacks. […]

By | November 6th, 2013|Infectious Disease|40 Comments

Media Checkup: Does the Flu Shot Really Prevent Heart Attacks?

This week’s post is being published early due to newsworthiness. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Okay. I know some of you have concerns about whether the flu shot does more harm than good, whether it works, and how well it does (not so great last year for those over 65). In fact, it’s still hit-or-miss on whether the powers that be can guess each year’s flu strains correctly for the vaccine. (Seems to me, though, they have a lot better track record than those guessing on the weather.) But a new study making the media rounds may make you look at the flu shot in a whole different way. […]

By | October 26th, 2013|Infectious Disease|35 Comments

Sinus Infection Remedies (And Why You Might Not Need Antibiotics)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH When I was a young doctor and just out of training, I developed a toothache. After a few days of not getting better, I went to my dentist. I assumed, best case, that I’d need a filling. I’d only had one filling before and wasn’t exactly looking forward to another one, but I had to do something for the pain. Well, after the dentist did a thorough exam and X-rayed the area, he told me my teeth were perfectly fine. I couldn’t believe it. He then, as tactfully as he could, suggested that perhaps I had a sinus infection. This took me by surprise. My tooth hurt, not my sinuses. Well, after over a week of pain, I swallowed my pride and started on antibiotics. In about three days, the pain was gone. Oh, it’s come back since, but not in a long time. Because since that time, I’ve come up with some sinus infection remedies—things I can do to prevent an infection or stop it in its tracks when I feel it coming on. […]

By | January 31st, 2013|Infectious Disease|99 Comments

Why Does My Nose Run When I Have a Cold?

A family doctor explains why your nose runs when you have a cold. [Editor’s note: This article was originally hosted on MyFamilyDoctorMag.com, our sister site. It’s now featured here as part of our new general-health section.] […]

When to Treat a Cough With Antibiotics

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the cold and flu season. In fact my last few posts have dealt with “Flu Shots: The Good and the Bad,” things you can to do if you get the flu, and “How NOT to Die From the Flu.” But now, your cold or flu symptoms are over, except for that lingering cough. Do you need antibiotics? How long can a cough linger and just be related to getting over your virus? Two new studies investigate these questions and give some surprising (at least to me) findings—findings that I think might help you decide for yourself, especially if you can’t get medical help and antibiotics are in short supply. […]

By | January 24th, 2013|Infectious Disease|11 Comments

How NOT to Die From the Flu (and Signs You Could)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Okay, you’ve had the flu, or maybe even a bad cold. You’re finally getting over it—actually feeling pretty good—when, boom, the symptoms return. What’s happened? Are you having a relapse? That’s a typical way many people come down with complications of the flu. It’s not the only way. Some get them while they still have the flu. Either way, complications are what usually put flu sufferers—200,000 or more a year of them—in the hospital. They’re what thousands die from. Unlike with the flu, bacteria is usually the culprit for complications, so it’s time to get to the doctor ASAP. Ah, but you know where this is leading if you’ve read many of my posts. What if you’re having trouble getting to the doctor or a clinic? Here are some tips that might pull you through. […]

By | January 21st, 2013|Infectious Disease|14 Comments