I’m not a doctor, but I have worked in the medical field for almost 30 years as a microbiologist. I have a few thoughts on what’s ailing the majority of our family and friends. I have observed four different problems.
- One illness starts with hoarseness (not really a sore throat). After a day or two a chest cough develops. Mine was a sudden onset. The cough is so severe your throat gets raw. This is probably a virus. You don’t need an antibiotic. Don’t use a cough suppressant. Get one that says expectorant so it will help you get rid of the congestion. If you suppress the cough, the mucus stays in your bronchial tubes or gets in your lungs and can cause pneumonia. If your fever goes above 102 degrees, you may have developed a secondary infection, either sinus infection or pneumonia, then you need to see a doctor.
- The second illness is also more than likely a virus. I haven’t had this one. Thank you, God. It is the one with vomiting, diarrhea, aches, and maybe some nasal congestion. No antibiotics needed, but if the vomiting and diarrhea are severe, and you can’t keep anything down, make sure to replace your electrolytes. Try Gatorade, Powerade, Pedialyte or one of the other drinks that have electrolytes in them. Pedialyte also has the formula in popsicle form.
- The flu is next. And yes, it’s a virus. You’ll be sick about two weeks. If you go to the doctor, please wear a mask (if you have one). They’re available at Wal-Mart. If you’ve had symptoms for a couple of days, it’s probably too late for Tamiflu. Also, it’s possible you won’t be able to find it at any of the drug stores right now. Drink plenty of fluids and rest. Take over the counter medicines such as Advil or Tylenol for aches and fever. Take Theraflu or another cough medicine, if you can’t find Theraflu. My personal advice is: don’t lay in the bed constantly for twenty-four hours. Get up every two to fours hours during the day and walk around for a few minutes. It helps your lungs.
- And to top it off is the old Streptococcus pyogenes also called Group A Streptococcus. This is the cause of strep throat, which is also going around. It is a bacteria not a virus. Strep throat is not to be taken lightly, because it can develop into other nasty aliments. If your throat is very sore, you have a fever, a headache, and generally feel terrible, you may have strep throat. You may see white spots on the back of your throat or on your tonsils, but not always. I say go to the doctor or ER. You may have a long wait, but you do need antibiotics, especially if your tonsils are severely swollen or your fever is over 102.
This may not be a comprehensive list of all symptoms and how to tell the difference between the different illnesses, but it gives a general idea of what’s out there looking to make you sick. Maybe it will help you make a choice of whether you need to chance going into a public place to sit for hours waiting to be seen, only to be told take tylenol, an over the counter cough medicine, and drink plenty of liquids.
One special note: If you have heart trouble or are otherwise immunocompromised you need to talk to your doctor.
These are my observations only. Please stay well. If you are sick, I pray that you get over it quickly without any complications. God bless.