We are in the midst of a huge outbreak of viral illnesses, some of which are “colds” and some of which are influenza (“the flu”).
Our Family Health Team urgent care clinics have become extremely busy, as you may discovered. Many people think “the flu” means vomiting and diarrhea, but it does not. Influenza is mainly an illness of cough, fever and muscle aches. We doctors still (sadly) cannot cure the common cold, no matter how long you have had it, even after weeks. Antibiotics do not help, because colds and flu are caused by viruses and not bacteria. We recommend you stay home, drink fluids and treat any fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. We CAN treat influenza with specific antiviral medications, but these are reserved for people who are VERY ILL and need to be given within 48 hours of the start of the illness in order to be effective.