How to battle back against the winter ‘crud’

Meijer Nyquil cold and flu medications
A Jan. 9, 2017 photos shows cold and flu medications sitting on a shelf at a Meijer store.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Schools and offices are emptier and doctors’ offices are busier as viruses make their rounds in West Michigan.

Multiple respiratory viruses are to blame for the coughing, sore throats and stuffy and runny noses many people are suffering, according to Dr. Dan McGee of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Antibiotics are not effective with viruses.

McGee said many of the viruses don’t have names, but they’re all treated the same, with over-the-counter cough and cold medicines – at least initially.

“If your cough has gone on for two weeks, you should worry that it’s something other than a simple respiratory virus,” said McGee.

McGee said a nagging cough could be pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The highly contagious disease can cause airways to swell, posing a serious risk to infants. While pertussis vaccines help prevent the respiratory disease, no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

Last year, doctors handled 20,762 cases of pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.