We will get to the answer in a bit but first, all of us here at Urgent Care Atlanta want to wish all our readers a Happy New Year and hope that 2012 brings continued health and happiness to you! And if the cold January weather has you feeling a bit down, don’t worry, just drop by the MedHelp clinic and we will have you as good as new again.
Speaking of January, one of the biggest health complaints at this time of the year is the cough. Now coughs can be no more than just a harmless occasional tickle in the throat. But they can also be the sign of something more dangerous. And that’s why you need to know how to tell the difference between the benign and the malignant. Most of the time you can just clear your throat and go on about your day. But it’s important to know when you should see a doctor.
CASE 1: WHEN YOU HAVE A VIRAL INFECTION
Coughs are the body’s natural mechanism to clean up your respiratory tract. And you can usually make them go away by getting rid of the cause- so if your cough is caused by pneumonia or an allergy, you can take an antibiotic or avoid the cause of the allergy respectively. When coughs are caused by viral infections, they can take up even a week or two to go away but you can at least easily treat yourself with over-the-counter medicine, lots of rest and plenty of fluids.
CASE 2: WHEN THE COUGH ALONE IS YOUR MAIN SYMPTOM
If you aren’t suffering from the pneumonia, allergy or some other identified viral infection and you still have the cough, it could be a strep throat or just a bad case of sore throat. You should consider seeing a doctor for these.
CASE 3: WHEN THE COUGH JUST WON’T GO AWAY
Coughs caused by ‘tickles’ or viral infections should be gone anywhere from a minute to a week. Any cough that lasts longer warrants a visit to your local clinic.
CASE 4: CALL THE DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY
You should call or see a doctor right away if you have any of the following in addition to the cough:
- Symptoms like wheezing, chest pain and/or breathing trouble
- You are coughing blood- or ‘bloody’, yellow or green mucus
- You also have a high fever
- Your condition is worsening instead of getting better
- Unplanned weight loss
- You start sweating heavily during the night
If you have a cough and want to make sure that nothing’s wrong, just drop by the MedHelp clinic. Our medical experts will provide you with accurate diagnosis and the best treatment!