Doctor offers tips on how to fight holiday illnesses

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – You may have noticed people around you are sneezing, coughing and blowing their noses.

One local doctor said holiday travel may be to blame.

​Dr. Ben Bring said he’s seeing more patients in his office with cold symptoms, adding the holiday season has so many people traveling, it’s easier for viruses to spread from one person to the next.​

Packed airports are normal around this time of year,​ with so many traveling for the holidays and they’re not just carrying their luggage.

“Airplanes are a big metal tube that’s filled like a petri dish,” Bring said. “If someone sneezes or coughs, there’s not a whole lot of air circulation. Especially in airports, it’s very common to get sick traveling through airports.”

Bring would know.​ He’s just getting over a cold that had him feeling terrible.​

“I was actually in Bhutan for two weeks. I had a cough that lasted for almost six weeks after that. I am sure I picked it up on the airplane. It was terribly frustrating, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do. It just kind of makes you rule out bad things first and then go on from there,” said Bring. ​

It’s the same conversation he has with his patients.​ He’s seen a large jump in the number of folks coming into Dublin Methodist Hospital complaining about cold symptoms after traveling.​ ​

“Especially with respiratory viruses a lot of times these are spread. If you have a co-worker that sneezes or coughs, it puts the virus up in the air and you breathe it in,” said Bring.

If you’re one of those suffering now, he said the best thing to do is treat the symptoms.

​”Cough syrup, you can use over-the-counter things like sore throat cough drops, Vicks, Chloraseptic is really good. Warm tea with honey is usually one of our favorites to recommend as well,” said Bring. ​

For those feeling just fine, he doesn’t advise you walking around with a surgical mask or canceling your holiday plans.​ There are ways to keep yourself healthy.​ ​

“Hand hygiene and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. It’s tremendous to not spread whatever you have to others,” said Bring. ​

Those with sore throats he said old remedies work best: drink hot tea and honey​.

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