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How to fight the cold and flu season

Many of us are dealing with persisting cold symptoms and the question is: "How can I get better?"

WSBT spoke with Dr. Alicia Wilson, a pediatrician at the South Bend Clinic, to find out what some of the most important doctor's orders are.

“The best prevention we have for spreading disease is washing our hands, coughing not into your hand but into your elbow or into your sleeve, and just getting rest and drinking lots of fluids," says Dr. Wilson.

Local doctors report they're seeing a lot of upper respiratory tract infections, congestion, sore throat and headaches. They're also seeing viral illnesses in the stomach and airways.

Dr. Wilson says this year about the same as previous years, in terms of seasonal illnesses that are popping up. There's no uptick in the amount of cases she's seeing.

One common infection they haven't seen much of yet this year is the flu.

Dr. Wilson says there's still time to get your flu shot if you haven't done so already.

Unfortunately, there's no cure for viruses once they're already in your system, but there are prescription or over-the-counter medications available to help you manage your symptoms.

Over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, Aleve and Advil will help reduce some of those aches and pains.

“If you do see your doctor and are prescribed medication, be sure to complete the medication for the full duration of the course that’s prescribed to you. There are reasons why we prescribe for a certain amount of time and that’s the best way for the medicine to be the most effective," says Dr. Wilson.

If your kids are sick and congested, Dr. Wilson suggests trying nasal saline spray.

For coughing, one at-home treatment that seems to be effective is honey. She says it seems to work even better than some of the cough medicines that are available.

But what if you've done all of those things and your symptoms just won't go away?

Dr. Wilson says, “If you’ve only been having symptoms for a couple days, give it a few more days, do some supportive care at home. Once you get out to that 7-10 day mark and things aren’t getting any better, that would be the time to see your doctor.”

That 7-10 day rule isn't hard and fast.

If you're feeling uncomfortable prior to that, go with your gut. Dr. Wilson encourages a doctor's visit to make sure that everything is okay -- especially for children -- because they can get sick quickly.

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