During these lovely summer days we’re tempted to be outside enjoying nature, but beware: predators lurk in the weeds. Here in the Midwest, we’re in a Lyme disease area so I thought it might be a good idea to let you know what symptoms to watch for, a task made sadly easier when my associate Dr Rubin, known for his love of the outdoors and risky gardening habit…well, I’ll let him tell you what he did on his summer vacation.
Although medical textbooks list hundreds of different illnesses, a bad case of flu is high on the list of those that make you feel the sickest. Those who have really had the “flu” (and I’m not talking about a bad cold, although a mild case of the flu is indistinguishable from a bad cold) will know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems that your every muscle aches; you feel so weak you can barely click the remote on your TV; your mind is so foggy that comic books are challenging; and your throat is raw from a cough that brings up no phlegm. Conventional medicine can offer some help: If you’re at a high risk for flu, vaccines can reduce your risk of getting flu during an epidemic; antiviral medications can help (somewhat) check the spread of the germ to other members of your family; antibiotics can help you deal with bacterial superinfection, if you develop one.
Most people have had a brush with bronchitis–an inflammation of the bronchi or the breathing tubes–at some time in their lives. And 7 million people, virtually all of them smokers, experience the symptoms of bronchitis every single day for years. Bronchitis comes in two versions. Acute bronchitis occurs when an infection, usually a virus or bacteria, inflames the bronchial tubes. It produces a raw, hacking, painful cough that can sometimes be relieved with self-care measures but often requires antibiotics.