Has Hillary’s Pneumonia been hidden for months? Unlikely.
Now that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been diagnosed with pneumonia, speculation abounds that she has had it for months. As a Pulmonary Specialist and founder of the Cleveland Clinic Cough Center of Excellency, I can confirm that pneumonia does not last for months. It’s what we call an acute disease, with a sudden onset and quick resolution. People get well quickly from pneumonia and recover fully, usually after 5 to 7 days of antibiotics.
So what can we learn from this situation, given that we cannot diagnose Clinton personally since she is not our patient? We know she has a chronic cough, which is different from pneumonia. Chronic means long term, while pneumonia is short lived. Her chronic cough most likely increased her susceptibility to the recent infectious process, pneumonia, and when she has recovered from pneumonia she will most likely revert back to her long term cough pattern.
Chronic coughs can have many causes; she’s been put on antihistamines, which pulmonologists prescribe to stop coughs caused by postnasal drip. Antihistamines can cause dehydration, though, and may have contributed to the dehydration that led to her dizziness on Saturday. In my own practice, I recommend that my patients try the natural alternatives first, because all medications have side effects.
For postnasal drip my patients report immediate clearing from Xlear, a saline spray containing xylitol which has antimicrobial action. For a stubborn case that does not yield to Xlear, I suggest a daily rinse with a neti pot, a container that looks like Aladdin’s lamp used to instill a saline solution into each nostril.
It’s important for everyone to stay hydrated, and in my practice with busy executives and celebrities, I find they are reluctant to drink enough water because they can’t interrupt their hectic schedule to use the restroom. Here’s a tip: when you drink a lot of water all at once, special sensors in the stomach send a message to the kidneys to crank up the output because there’s a lot of water coming in. If you sip slowly, the body has more of a chance to absorb the water.
With proper care and attention, Hillary’s pneumonia will quickly run its course, but I hope she is eventually able to find the source of her chronic cough, and ultimately some relief.