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Q&A with Dr. Cottrell – Is strep throat contagious?

Dr. Amy Cottrell is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is an active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Memphis with a degree in Biology. She then received her medical degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and finished her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Is strep throat contagious?

The bacteria that causes strep throat is passed through oral and nasal secretions when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or contacting infected surfaces, like doorknobs and tables. It is also passed on by sharing food and drinks. This is why it is so important for kids and adults alike to wash their hands frequently and avoid sharing meals or drinks when they are sick. You are typically contagious for two to three weeks if not treated, but this is reduced to 24 hours after starting antibiotics. Viruses also cause symptoms that can mimic strep throat, and your Doctor on Demand physician can help figure out the best treatment for you. Remember, viruses aren’t treated with antibiotics, but the precautions to prevent the spread are the same.

The pain and fever related to the infection can be treated with over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or tylenol. Salt water gargles, warm tea with honey or chicken soup also help alleviate sore throat pain. Popsicles and ice cream are another favorite and effective intervention for sore throat pain. You will likely need to adjust your diet to soft foods like jello, yogurt, oatmeal or warm pasta. Hydration is a very important part of the treatment for any infection, especially when there is fever. You should also replace your toothbrush after 2-3 days on to prevent re-infection.

Q&A with Dr. Elliott – Seasonal tips for staying healthy

A graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Dr. Tania Elliott completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island. Dr. Elliott has a wide range of experience and can help with everything from providing general medical advice to choosing appropriate over-the-counter remedies to consulting on how to prepare for upcoming travel.

What’s your favorite tip for staying healthy during cold & flu season?

There are some well recognized and simple steps that can be taken to help prepare you and your loved ones for this special…and “germy” time of the year.

First and foremost: make sure that you and your family members get adequate sleep. Many of us live very busy lives, and when time gets limited, we have to admit that we often borrow from hours that should be dedicated to sleep. However, studies have shown that lack of sleep can decrease our immune system, and therefore increase our risk for infections such as cold and flu.

In addition, I recommend eating whole, nutritious meals, washing your hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, and getting your flu shot early in the season. If you or your family are experiencing symptoms that you are concerned about, you can reach out to one of our Doctor On Demand physicians to discuss treatment strategies.

Q&A with Dr. Elliott – What to avoid during a cold

A graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Dr. Tania Elliott completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island. Dr. Elliott has a wide range of experience and can help with everything from providing general medical advice to choosing appropriate over-the-counter remedies to consulting on how to prepare for upcoming travel.

Are there any food or drinks that I should avoid when I have a cold?

It’s true that coffee, caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks are best avoided when you have cold, since your body needs rest and sleep instead of the stimulation of caffeine.

Cough and cold medicine often contain decongestants, which should not be mixed with caffeine. When mixed, it can lead to sleep issues, palpitations, and even spikes in blood pressure. Plus, lots of headache medicines contain caffeine, so you want to make sure you read the labels on multi-symptom medications.

Choose water, juice, broth, herbal tea, and be sure to eat nutritious meals packed with fresh fruits and vegetables. Hot water with fresh ginger is great to both soothe your sinuses and boost your immune system.Some people feel that dairy increases their mucus production,but this is actually a myth!

And if your cold isn’t clearing after a few days, it’s a good idea to check with a doctor to be sure it isn’t something more serious.

Q&A with Dr. Elliott – Winter allergies

A graduate of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Dr. Tania Elliott completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island. Dr. Elliott has a wide range of experience and can help with everything from providing general medical advice to choosing appropriate over-the-counter remedies to consulting on how to prepare for upcoming travel.

Can you have allergies in the winter?

Winter allergies are our Indoor Allergies. So the more time we spend indoors, the more likely it is for our winter allergies to flare. Dust Mite, Cockroach, Mice, and Pet Dander are the most common indoor allergens. Plus, gas fireplaces, heaters, scented candles, and wood burning stoves are all sources of irritation to the nose and lungs that can act just like allergies or a cold to your immune system.

Chronic exposure to these irritants and allergens can lead to inflammation in your nose and lungs, which is a setup for infection. Doctor on Demand can assess your home, help you identify your triggers, and get your symptoms under control.

Q&A with Dr. Allamon – What is strep throat?

Dr. Patricia Allamon is a Family Physician who is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Texas A&M University and trained at Conroe Family Medicine Residency near her hometown of Montgomery, Texas. Dr. Allamon was selected as one of “D Best” Physicians in Dallas in 2014 and 2015.

Can adults get strep throat? Are kids more likely to get it?

Anybody can get strep throat, an infection caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. However, it’s most commonly seen in kids and teens, especially during the school year. The bacteria that causes strep throat is passed through coughing, sneezing, and contact with infected surfaces, like doorknobs and tables. It’s also passed on by sharing food and drinks. That’s why it’s so important for kids and adults alike to wash hands frequently, and avoid sharing meals when sick.

Not all sore throats are strep throat, and many will clear up on their own. If you are having sore throat issues, Doctor on Demand can help.

Q&A with Dr. Hawthorne – Germs while traveling

Dr. Heather Hawthorne is a board-certified Family Physician working in the Los Angeles, CA area. She earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed her Family Medicine residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona and is trained in managing disease processes in all stages of life.

Why do I feel like I always get sick after traveling on a plane?

Many people report coming down with a bug following airplane travel. That’s because, in several ways, travel can create the ideal conditions for illness to thrive. First of all, travel can be stressful and tiring, and stress and exhaustion can lower your immune system. In addition, airplanes are notoriously dry, and many viruses become more stable in dry air.

Although it’s a common belief that the air you’re breathing in a plane is recirculated—mixed with your fellow passengers’ germs—that’s only partially true. Fresh air from outside the plane is mixed with recirculated cabin air up to 20 times per hour. The biggest culprit in the spread of contagious infections on planes are the surfaces you touch—such as your tray table, arm rest, magazine, and lavatory door. With so many people in such a small space, airplane surfaces are notoriously germy.

Your best defense against getting sick when you travel, other than being well-rested and staying hydrated, is to travel with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, and to use them liberally. If you do come down with a bug after travelling, you may have been exposed to something more serious than a simple cold or flu. In this case, it’s a good idea to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personal treatment plan.