Bronson Battle Creek infectious disease specialist to discuss the common cold


September 26, 2013

They call it the ‘common cold’ for a really good reason.  It is estimated that there are over a billion colds in the U.S. every year, something you and your family will probably get during the upcoming cold and flu season if you are not careful.

On Wednesday, October 16, Dr. Gregory Harrington, an infectious disease physician at Bronson Infectious Disease & Pulmonary Medicine—Battle Creek and medical director at the Calhoun County Health Department will talk at Burnham Brook Center about ‘Treating the Common Cold.’  He will discuss cold viruses, symptoms, treatments, and when you should call your doctor.

The presentation, part of the Senior Health Partners’ ‘Aging Well’ series, will begin with a light lunch at 11:30 a.m. followed by Dr. Harrington’s speech at noon.  His one-hour talk, which is free to the public, is sponsored through Senior Health Partners in coordination with Bronson Battle Creek.  Seating is limited.  For reservations call toll free (800) 451-6310.

Colds are the most common reason children miss school and adults miss work.  Anytime you are around groups of people, your chances of contracting the cold virus go up.  You can ‘catch’ a cold anytime of the year, but especially in the winter or rainy seasons.

Colds spread through tiny droplets that are launched airborne when sick people sneeze, cough, or blow their noses.  You can also catch a cold by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have come into contact with something that has been contaminated by the virus such as a doorknob or faucet handle.

How do you know if you have a cold?  Symptoms usually appear about two or three days after you have come in contact with the virus.  They include nasal congestion, runny nose, scratch throat, and sneezing.

How should you treat a cold?  Most colds will go away in a few days if you take care of yourself.  To do that, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, take over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications.  They don’t make the cold go away any sooner, but they can certainly ease your symptoms. 

A special note: OTC cough and cold medicines are NOT recommended for children under age 4.

If you are treating your cold yourself at home, call your healthcare profession immediately if you have problems breathing or your symptoms get worse or do not improve after 7 to 10 days.

Finally how should you prevent or at least lower your chance of getting a cold?  Wash your hands frequently.  Disinfect your surroundings, especially those surfaces such as sink handles, doorknobs, and telephones.

Dr. Harrington is accepting new patients.  Call (269) 245-8302 for more information.  The Bronson Infectious Disease & Pulmonary Medicine—Battle Creek office is located at 363 Fremont Street, Suite 305, on the second floor in the Medical Office Building.