Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cough, Cough, Hack, Wheeze

The cold, flu and coughing, sneezing, sniffling season is well underway. Reports are that this year's flu  is affecting far more people than previous years' versions. I got my flu shot, so I'm not worried...but there is a little nagging cough out there as well.
Coughing is a sign of potential issues, among them bronchitis, and that should be of concern for people, especially since many of us tend to look toward antibiotics for relief from suspected cases: erroneously, as it turns out.
All of this medical information comes from Dr. Mark Evell of the University of Georgia who surveyed 500 people with regard to their perception of the duration of coughing issues. Most felt that a cough should be on its way out after 7-9 days: if not, they would get a perscription for an antibiotic. It turns out, however, that they are wrong in their duration assumption. Coughs from bronchitis hang around almost twice as long as folks think: an average of 18 days, according to Evell and his research team.
So, why doe people expect a week to be an average length? It seems that many of the illnesses we get, like the common cold, tend to see diminishing symptoms in a week's, we naturally assume a cough should be gone in that time as well. When it doesn't we turn to antibiotics...which seldom help at all since they are attuned to bacteria and not viruses. Even worse, we can build up an immunity to antibiotics through constant use.
Perhaps we'll have an early spring!


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