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Health Capsules …

By Sergio López Salamanca

The cold season is here and with it the incidence of respiratory infections. Seniors and children under five are particularly sensitive to these diseases, so at this time of year preventive measures should be taken aimed at health care of their airways.

Diseases that may occur are varied and range from the common cold to pulmonary infectious processes such as pneumonia, which when treated late or incorrectly can seriously endanger people’s lives.

Most of these diseases are caused by viruses which are generally not responsive to antibiotics, so that the use of them is pointless or, in many cases, even hazardous because they may mask severe symptoms, preventing an appropriate diagnosis and timely management.

Special mention should be given to the danger of influenza in recent years due to the severity observed in many of the cases presented. In this regard it is useful to remember that there are several types of influenza, among which are the one known as seasonal influenza and the dreaded influenza A (H1N1). There is medical treatment for both cases and they are curable, especially if addressed in a timely manner; in the case of Influenza A (H1N1) treatment should start preferably within 72 hours.

The best way to prevent the onset of these diseases is through a series of basic hygienic measures, including frequent hand washing with soap and water. In the case of coughing or sneezing cover your mouth with a tissue or the elbow angle, avoid spitting on the floor, try not to touch facial areas like the mouth, nose or eyes, with your hands because transmission is through these mucous areas. Insure personal hygiene, in clothes and areas where people dwell or work.

There is also a vaccination to prevent influenza and pneumonia, which has greatly decreased the number of cases of these diseases and is specially important to protect seniors and children.

The warning symptoms to be considered are high fever (greater than 38 ° C), severe discomfort, headache, cough and sore throat, and difficulty in breathing. In the presence of these symptoms please go to your doctor and avoid self-medication at all times.


Dr. Sergio López Salamanca is a surgeon who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), specializing in family medicine, certified by the Mexican Board of Family Medicine Certification AC, Addictions and Diploma in Management Health Services. Private practice since 1974 and institutional from 1978 in the Mexican Social Security Institute, occupying the posts of Head of Clinical Department, Director of Medical Unit, National Programs Coordinator Medical Care Delegational Coordinator and Deputy Director Regional Health Services. He is now retired.


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