In the United States, millions of people come down with the flu annually. Not only does it make you feel lousy, but also the illness seems to linger.
The symptoms may start with a cough or a scratchy throat. Then comes the full-blown sore throat and headache. With each additional symptom, you think about whether you should wait it out or if you should see a doctor.
In this blog, our highly experienced providers here at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic share their insights on the flu so you’ll know when to schedule a sick visit.
Let’s start with a common debate – cold versus flu. So what’s the difference? Although both a cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses, different viruses cause them. Typically the symptoms are similar, but colds are generally milder than the flu and don’t usually result in serious complications like bacterial infections or pneumonia.
Think of the flu as a cold on steroids. Often, the flu causes a high fever, whereas a cold usually results in a low-grade fever or none at all.
Influenza occurs year-round
When it comes to the flu, short for influenza, we typically think of flu season as if it has particular dates on the calendar like baseball or fishing season. Although it’s more common in the fall and winter, flu viruses can be transmitted all year long.
The flu is a respiratory viral infection that affects your nose, lungs, and throat. Since flu symptoms are similar to the common cold, be vigilant in noting what’s going on in your body. Flu symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Some people also get a fever and additional symptoms like body aches, fatigue, and nausea.
Don’t wait to see the doctor
If you or your child has had any of these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment for a sick visit. Keep in mind that the most serious distinction between the flu and a cold is that the flu can develop into serious complications like pneumonia, resulting in hospitalizations and even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control during the 2018–2019 influenza season, 35.5 million people contracted the flu which not only resulted in more than 16.5 million doctor visits but also 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.
Sick visits get you on the road to feeling better
Getting to the root cause of your illness is the primary reason for a sick visit. No one likes to be sick, but ignoring it by not scheduling a visit with our team will only make you sick longer. During your sick visit, our providers will perform a thorough examination, ask you about your symptoms, take a medical history, and may run a few tests.
Using this information, our team develops a diagnosis and treatment plan. If you have the flu, our providers may prescribe antiviral medications to shorten the illness and also prevent risks of further issues like pneumonia.
Keep in mind that scheduling a prompt visit is particularly important for children who suddenly get symptoms. People with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions like diabetes, chronic lung disease, or liver or kidney issues should also seek prompt treatment.
If you’re not feeling well, contact our board-certified physicians and the medical team at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic in New Albany, Mississippi. Request a sick visit appointment online or call today.