Block, Klukas, Manzella & Shell - December 2018

4 Winter Illnesses You’d Rather Avoid Know What to Look For Before They Attack

Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether. THE COMMON COLD Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week. BRONCHIOLITIS Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should

be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms. INFLUENZA The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine. STREP THROAT A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep.

This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

MORE TO THE STORY Did a Thief Really Sue the Family He Robbed?

There’s nothing that shakes the public’s faith in the legal system quite like hearing a story where injustice is served. Take, for example, the widespread story of Terrence Dickson, a robber from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Dickson broke into a house while the family who owned it was on vacation and helped himself to their valuables. When he tried to make his way out through the garage, Dickson discovered that the automatic garage door was malfunctioning. Unable to open the garage door and horrified to discover he’d accidentally locked the door leading back into the house, Dickson was trapped in the garage for eight days. The robber survived on soda from the garage fridge and dried dog food. When the family returned home, Dickson sued for mental anguish and demanded $500,000. The jury awarded him every penny. Are you outraged by this tale? We would be too had this whole case not been completely made up. The story of Terrence Dickson can be traced back to a Stella Awards email that first began circulating in 2001. The popular chain email often ended with a call for tort reform from a made-up law firm in Ohio. In 2002, after this email gained notoriety, a reporter from Pennsylvania contacted the Bucks County prothonotary’s office and discovered they had no record of any cases involving a dog-food-eating burglar.

Despite being thoroughly debunked over 15 years ago, this story is still passed around as truth. No longer just circulated through email chains, the tall tale of Terrence Dickson is included in numerous “outrageous lawsuits” lists, many of which have been featured on the blogs of legitimate law firms! Much like how the details of reasonable lawsuits are left out to make the case seem ridiculous, it is very common for these kinds of over- the-top stories to be completely fabricated. There are extenuating circumstances that can result in a case not playing out as justly as we would like, but these are incredibly rare. Stories like those made popular by the Stella Awards often only exist to turn public opinion against the justice system and personal injury cases. This is why it’s important to fact-check before forwarding any crazy stories.


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