Nurse practitioner explains how to distinguish among seasonal illnesses

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – With so many seasonal illnesses going around this time of year, it is hard to know what specifically you are suffering from. The flu, common cold, strep throat, viral sore throat, and sinus infections can all have overlapping symptoms.     

Bon Secours St. Francis Health Nurse Practitioner Ayesha Nutt spoke about how to tell what’s what. She began by describing the common cold. “Typically, with cold you’re going to have a slower onset of symptoms, kind of a gradual worsening. You might have some chills, some headache, runny congested nose, scratch throat. If you’re going to have a fever, it’s going to be a low-grade fever.” 

Nutt says the flu is a different story. “With influenza, you typically feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. Symptom onset is very sudden, and typically is accompanied by a high-grade fever of 102 to 104 [degrees].”   She says if you think you have the flu, you should go see a doctor. If you are diagnosed with the flu, Nutt says to make sure you are fever-free for at least 24 hours, before returning to home or school.

She then described symptoms of strep throat. “[There is] usually a sudden onset, accompanied by a fever. There are often red, swollen tonsils, maybe some white patches.  Typically, you don’t have a cough with it, whereas a viral sore throat — less intense pain, low-grade fever maybe, a scratchy throat and cough is pretty common.” 

Since strep throat is bacterial, Nutt said antibiotics are needed.  She said not to return to work or school unless you have been on the antibiotics for at least 24 hours.    

Nutt also spoke about sinus infections.  “Most true sinus infections are viral, very few are actually bacterial.  Symptoms can be very vague: headaches, sinus pain, congestion, post-nasal drip, cough, low-grade fever and feeling fatigued.  If symptoms last more than 10 days or are associated with a fever greater than 100.4 then you would need to go to your family doctor or health care provider, and they can determine if you’d need an antibiotic, and if it were bacterial or viral.” 

For more information about how to stay healthy, tune in to hear the experts at Bon Secours on Saturday at 10 a.m. on 106.3 WORD radio.  

To submit a question to the Ask the Expert series, visit: https://www.wspa.com/ask-the-expert.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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