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What's going around: Bronchitis often lasts 2-3 weeks

What's going around: Bronchitis often lasts 2-3 weeks (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - If you have what appears to be a bad cold that doesn't go away, you likely have what's going around in the Tri-State.

What's going around has three common symptoms in most people: a bad cough, a runny nose, and nasal or sinus congestion. Infectious disease specialists at the Christ Hospital said in most cases it was a bad bout of bronchitis that lasts up to three weeks, or even longer if people develop complications that require a hospital stay.

Bronchitis typically is an upper respiratory respiratory tract infection. It typically involves the nasal passages, the sinuses the upper airways, and the large airways that lead to the lung. Doctor Thomas Lamarre said a lot of people are blaming the cold weather, which is really only the cause because it keeps people indoors in close contact. That's how bronchitis spreads.

“Typically it’s contact with infected secretions from someone else so when someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks, or when you shake someone’s hand or touch someone that hasn't washed their hands,” said Dr. Lamarre.

That means washing your hands and staying away from sick people is the best defense. While most people want to head to the pharmacy for prescription relief, Dr. Lamarre says most of the time antibiotics won’t help.

“Bronchitis is typically a viral illness, less than 10 percent are due to bacteria so antibiotics do not help,” he said.

Since Dr. Lamarre tracks diseases that infect others at Christ Hospital, his recommendation most often is supportive care, “Anti-inflammatories, decongestants, antihistamines’ typically it's self-limiting but it can last two to three weeks.”

He said people may be in need of a trip to the doctor if after ten to 14 days it's not getting better. The other thing to remember is keep hands off your own face.

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