Illnesses to watch out for this fall

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - As the weather gets colder, the noses get runnier and coughs get louder.

One local doctor says the case of the common cold is running rampant through Region 8.

"It's not uncommon during this time of year, you'll have runny nose, cough, congestion, headache, just don't feel good, maybe not a high fever. Kind of the upper respiratory, sinus type of symptoms," Dr. Shane Speights with St. Bernards said.

Speights said the common cold is not uncommon right now because of changes in temperature, allergy season and an increase in the number of circulating viruses.

"Really the goal at this time of the year with these type of symptoms is just using over the counter medications for symptom treatment," Speights said.

Treatment includes antihistamines to tackle your allergies, decongestants and pain killers for coughing and aching, and nasal sprays to open up your sinuses. Speights said plenty of sleep and water is also important.

"The symptoms can last seven to ten days or so. So unfortunately kind of waiting it out is what you have to do," Speights said.

He said always take medicine with caution and moderation.

"Always make sure that you're dosing appropriately and correctly. You're not giving too much medication or taking too much at once," Speights said.

Speights also said to watch out for the multi symptom medications.

"Look on the side of the bottle and see what all medications are in there. You may be surprised what all is in that bottle. It may have quite a bit of Tylenol already in it. Well, you don't want to take that and then take Tylenol in addition to it. Then we can have too much of that in our system," Speights said.

He warns against antibiotics.

"Some people make the mistake of assuming an antibiotic will make a difference. They take the Z-Pak four to five days depending on which one they get. Low and behold they feel better. When if you really go back and count up the days, it was about eight to ten days when all of that happened when really the virus was probably running its course and you took an antibiotic unnecessarily," Speights said.

Your body could then become immune to certain antibiotics.

"Antibiotic resistance is a really big deal. We worry a lot about the bacteria not responding to antibiotics because we've overused them so much. You can treat most of these symptoms at home with over the counter medications and get just as good results," Speights said.

Speights said if these symptoms would persist more than ten days, see your health care provider before it turns into something worse that requires antibiotics.

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