Stanford Internal Medicine (SIM)

SIM 2010-11 Viral Self-Care Guidelines

We generally see two patterns of viral syndromes - respiratory predominant and GI predominant. The following is a brief summary of recommendations for self-care. Please contact your physician if you have further questions or problems.

Respiratory Predominant

Key Symptoms Experienced

Description of the Cause

While influenza vaccination in the fall will confer protection from up to 3 different influenza viruses in winter, respiratory flu syndromes can be caused by a large number of viruses. Testing to determine whether the infection is caused by a specific virus is not currently available. Antibiotics play no role in the treatment of the adult with a viral respiratory syndrome and while commonly requested by patients (and commonly prescribed by doctors), this inappropriate use of powerful medications is resulting in widespread resistance to antibiotics (resulting in death or severe illness when antibiotics are not working), a large dollar cost to our beleaguered health care system, and a large variety of side effects from these antibiotics).

Recommended Self-Treatments and Recommendations

Fever

Cough (non-productive, occasionally yellow-green)

Congestion (nose, throat, chest)

Muscle Aches

Sore Throat

Get an influenza vaccine next year!

Wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when coughing.

When to call your doctor

GI Predominant

Key Symptoms Experienced

Description of the Cause

Viral GI syndromes in adults are caused by a large number of viruses. Antibiotics play no role in the treatment of viral GI syndromes.

Recommended Self-Treatments and Recommendations

Fever Nausea and/or vomiting Diarrhea (loose, watery, yellow to brown, no blood or mucous) Muscle Aches

Stomache ache, cramping, hiccups, increased heartburn

Wash your hands frequently

When to call your doctor

Links for Further Information

Updated 10.20.10 Ford, MD

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