TODAY   |  January 28, 2014

Latest tips on treating the common cold

Dr. Roshini Raj and Dr. Adam Ofer join TODAY to discuss what works and doesn’t work in treating a cold, as well as chatting about a new study on women and reproductive health.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, some surprising new research to tell you about affecting your health.

>> yeah. here to take us behind the biggest headlines, assistant professor of medicine at nyu langone medical center , and director of gynecology at norwalk hospital in connecticut. good morning to you both. let's start with something that everyone's thinking about right now and that is the prevention and treatment of the common cold . first thing, let's talk about preventing it. what can we do?

>> we're not good at treating it, so the best thing is to prevent it. all about hand washing , hand sanitizers are great. when you're out with your kids, remind them not to touch on their face. touching things and on their eyes and it's a great way to spread it. there are a couple of -- we talk about vitamins on this show. most vitamins don't help. vitamin c unfortunately doesn't help.

>> a lot of people start drinking orange juice because they have vitamin c in their head.

>> and there are supplements, too.

>> it's a larger view of good randomized control studies. they didn't show benefits in vitamin c , although they did for zync. and probiotics which i find interesting, that good bacteria we know is good for our digestive health. that was helpful in certain probiotic beverages to reduce the risk of cold.

>> the prevention of it. but what about the treatment?

>> sidminsins. and i think you can extrapolate the data from the cold. it's not good to overtreat yourself. you feel lousy, you should be in bed under the covers, you take tylenol, you feel terrific, now you're infecting everybody else with the party. you're probably better off with a low grade fever , stay at home under the covers leave other people alone.

>> let's move on the women's health. new study finds about half of all women in the u.s. have not discussed their own reproductive health with their physician. what are the implications?

>> well, these days when you go to the doctor, the time is so limited, you feel like you're only there to deal with urgent matters. but the truth is, you should be discussing things like reproductive health . many didn't realize that fertility can be affected by smoking, obesity, your age. many women did not go to see a gynecologist once a year. this was a big eye opener that women need to take better care of themselves and in terms of family planning whether they want to have children or not, they need to be having these discussions sooner rather than later.

>> my doctor initiated, i'm 43, he sat me down and said, okay, are you trying to have a kid or not?

>> it should probably happen when you're 30.

>> really?

>> why not plan ahead so you know, okay, maybe when i'm 35 i need to be thinking about this.

>> a realistic look of what's going on.

>> in your 30s, if you have intercourse every single day with your partner, you have a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. when you get to 40, you have a 5% chance. 20% of women have no idea that age affects fertility at all. we as doctors need to do a better job educating our patients.

>> okay. let's move on to electronic health records . a really interesting one. it could have a negative affect on doctor/patient interaction.

>> i think adam and i probably deal with this every day in our offices because electronic medical records , it's great, it really helps us, you know, get all the information about a patient right there. you don't have to read another doctor's chicken scratch anymore. i do struggle with this where i'm typing or reading at the computer but also trying to have a warm, easy dialogue with my patient. it is a struggle. i think there's an art to it and you have to experience and time perfect it.

>> we understand from a doctor point of view, but i need to see the patient, talk to the patient, examine the patient and document a whole host of stuff. how do you do that and maintain eye contact ? on the other hand, we're breeding a whole new generation of students that don't look at the patient. you look at somebody, their facial expression, their skin tone . you have doctors that can read a c.a.t. scan but not see the yellowing of the skin.

>> thank you, doctors. great conversation.