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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19465
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I was on holiday in America only a week ago. Two days before

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I was on holiday in America only a week ago. Two days before coming home I got a sore throat, began coughing and almost lost my voice. I spoke mostly in a whisper. My friend had a cough before we went away, on top of that we had the air conditioning on constantly.
Since I've been home I've had a cough bringing up phlegm, retching and almost vomiting. The cough has slightly worn off but still coughing up phlegm and still cannot speak as I usually do and now I have pain in my abdomen whenever I cough.
I work as a community carer with the elderly and vulnerable and want to return to work as soon as possible.
I've been drinking plenty of water and orange juice and mainly stuck to easy foods to swallow. I have been taking paracetamol for it every four hours.
Is there anything else I should be doing and when should I risk returning to work?
Hello from JustAnswer.

The symptoms that you describe are typically due to a viral syndrome, affecting the airways and GI tract. The primary interventions are general supportive care, such as getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and symptomatic relief with paracetamol or cough syrup. It also may be soothing to be breathing steam, such as in a hot shower.

There also is evidence that zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of a viral syndrome, but only of they are started quickly after onset of symptoms. Ideally, the lozenges should be started on the first day of symptoms, but some benefit may be seen if the lozenges are started within 3 days after onset of symptoms. If you are already beyond this point of time,there would be no benefit in trying the zinc lozenges.

As for when you can return to work, it would be determined by your symptoms. Once the symptoms are mostly better, the it would be OK to return to work, as you would no longer be contagious at that point and it is less important that you be getting plenty of rest.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
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