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Acute respiratory infections

Related article: Acute infections

While it is certainly possible to contract an acute respiratory infection while on the Marshall Protocol, many symptoms of immunopathology mimic those of an acute respiratory infection. Adjusting one's antibiotics or olmesartan (Benicar) can sometimes help a patient distinguish between the two. The MP tends to make no difference to the course of a common cold. Patients with acute respiratory infections can manage their infections with antiviral agents as well as medicines which palliate symptoms.

Types of acute respiratory infections

  • common cold – A mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages but not the lungs. Caused primarily by rhinoviruses. The symptoms of a cold usually resolve after about one week, but can last up to three weeks.
  • flu (influenza) – Caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae, flu is an acute contagious disease of the upper airways and lungs, which rapidly spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics. It can be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and influenza in the early stages of an acute infection, but usually the symptoms of the flu are more severe than their common-cold equivalents. Most people who get influenza will recover in one to two weeks, but others will develop life-threatening complications such as pneumonia.
  • pneumonia – An inflammatory illness of the lung. Upper respiratory infections are rarely serious but can lead to pneumonia, which may present a serious challenge for patients with severely-compromised respiratory function, as is sometimes the case with sarcoidosis.
  • strep throat – Also known as streptococcal pharyngitis, strep throat is an infection that affects the pharynx and possibly the larynx and tonsils. Strep is contagious and must be treated. Strep infections left untreated can migrate to other areas such as the joints and internal organs. Patients who think they have strep infection should see their doctor for an assessment. Strep throat cannot be diagnosed definitively without a culture. Titers can stay postive for a long time from past infections. While penicillin is still the drug of choice for strep infection, penicillin can foster the growth of chronic bacteria. Patients who are candidates for penicillin may wish to ask their physician for an alternative to penicillin such as claforan (Cefotaxime).

Viruses account for most upper respiratory infections, but physicians must be alert to signs of bacterial primary infection or superinfection, which may require targeted therapy.

Distinguishing between acute infection and immunopathology

While it is certainly possible to contract an acute infection while on the MP, many symptoms of immunopathology mimic those of an acute infection. These symptoms include a runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, headache, cough, malaise, or vague feeling of illness, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and ear pain. Generally speaking, symptoms due to immunopathology are more variable and tend not to last while a cold, flu, bronchitis, etc. can generally linger a week or more. Whenever the cause of symptoms is in doubt, try one or both of the following:

  • increase olmesartan (Benicar) to every four hours around the clock, for up to 24 hours if no immediate result, to see if it dampens symptoms
  • adjust MP antibiotic(s) to see if the symptoms improve

If symptoms improve in either or both scenarios, it is an immune system reaction, not an acute infection.

Patients who remain unsure if they have an acute infection should consult their physician. A physician can diagnose most acute infections after a history and physical exam. In some cases, further tests may be ordered. For example, the back of the throat may be swabbed if strep throat is suspected. This swab test, called a throat culture, can check for the bacteria that cause this infection. A blood test called an antibody titer may be done if certain infections are suspected. A chest X-ray may be ordered to make sure pneumonia, a more serious infection deep in the lungs, is not present. Other tests may be ordered in certain cases.

Managing an acute respiratory infection while on the Marshall Protocol

The MP tends to make no difference to the course of a common cold. The Vitamin D Receptor, which is activated by the Marshall Protocol, transcribes at least several genes, which are important for fighting viruses.

If anything, the Marshall Protocol will allow the immune system a better chance to fight the virus.

Trevor Marshall, PhD

Medications

  • antiviral agents – Antiviral agents such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can be used for the treatment and prevention of flu, but their use entails some risk.
  • antidiarrheal agents – unless diarrhea is due to food poisoning or other acute infection, it is not advisable to stop diarrhea unless it is causing dehydration or the cramping is intolerable
  • beta-lactam antibiotics – Patients who are candidates for penicillin may wish to ask their physician for an alternative to penicillin such as claforan (Cefotaxime).
  • guaifenesin – An expectorant drug usually taken orally to assist the bringing up (“expectoration”) of phlegm from the airways in acute respiratory tract infections. The use of guaifenesin is acceptable in limited amounts, although patients should know that the drug does have mild immunosuppressive activity.
  • pain medications – use as necessary to modulate intolerable symptoms

Other measures

Patients who are at risk for symptoms of acute infection should take care of themselves by getting adequate rest, fluids and nutrition. This is especially important for patients who already have compromised respiratory function. It is okay to palliate symptoms with medications as necessary.

Read more

  • How not to fight colds – Why do children, the population with the most pristine health, get up to a dozen colds a year? This New York Times article argues that “susceptibility to cold symptoms is not a sign of a weakened immune system, but quite the opposite.”
  • Cold Virus 'Manipulates' Genes - Sneezing, runny nose and chills? You might blame the human rhinovirus (HRV), which causes 30 to 50 percent of common colds. But in reality, it's not the virus itself but HRV's ability to manipulate your genes that is the true cause of some of the most annoying cold symptoms. For the first time, researchers have shown that HRV hijacks many of your genes and causes an overblown immune response that ends up with your nose being overblown.
Last modified: 07.11.2014
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