Coughs are a common symptom of colds and can be dry or mucous-filled. They usually linger for several days to a week or two, but can persist for longer if untreated. Often they are accompanied by sneezing and stuffy sinuses. The flu, or influenza, has similar symptoms, and is one of the most common viral infections in the world.
Can Urgent Care treat a cold?
Common colds and influenza share many similarities in terms of symptoms, including sneezing and sniffling. Colds usually persist for a shorter duration and are typically less severe. Without proper care, a severe cold can turn into something more serious, such as bronchitis, a sinus infection, or pneumonia.
If you are unsure whether your symptoms are those of a cold, flu, or something more serious, your AFC Urgent Care professionals can help you recognize the signs and ensure that you get the care you need quickly.
If someone is suffering from a sore throat along with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, red and/or swollen tonsils, and having problems swallowing, this could be a sign of strep throat. This is a bacterial infection that is quite common in children and can be treated with antibiotics. You should go to your urgent care facility to check and make sure something else is not occurring and get antibiotics, because strep throat can lead to other serious issues. In most cases, colds and the flu will work their way out. However, you should still seek medical assistance if you have a virus.
Should I go to Urgent care for my cough?
Coughs are one of the most common reasons patients come to urgent care. While some coughs are benign and resolve on their own within a week or two, there are some red flags patients should be aware of, because they can indicate a more serious problem that requires further evaluation.
Cough with a fever
If you have a cough and a fever (a temperature over 100.4ºF), you could have influenza or pneumonia, both of which require rapid medical intervention to prevent serious complications. So, a cough with a true fever should prompt you to schedule a same-day appointment for further evaluation.
If you do have pneumonia, the earlier you start on an antibiotic, the less likely you are to develop serious issues like dehydration, respiratory distress, and sepsis.
If you have influenza, starting on the antiviral medication Tamiflu can shorten the duration of your illness and decrease the risk of secondary bacterial infections and other complications.
A cough that lasts more than three weeks
Up to 95% of coughs are viral, which means they resolve on their own within 10-14 days without any intervention. However, if you have a cough that hasn’t resolved within three weeks of onset, it’s wise to seek medical attention and have a thorough evaluation to make sure there’s no potentially serious underlying condition.
A cough accompanied by systemic symptoms
Benign coughs shouldn’t be affecting any other part of your body. If you have a cough with systemic symptoms (fatigue, fever, weight loss, night sweats, dizziness), it’s wise to have a medical evaluation, because coughs with systemic symptoms can indicate a serious diagnosis, such as HIV, tuberculosis or a malignancy.
At AFC Urgent Care, we’re here seven days a week to care for you! We have digital x-ray machines and rapid flu tests at all of our locations. If you have a concerning cough, don’t put off getting the care you need. We offer an easy check-in process and short wait times. Just walk-in or save your spot online. Select your location below to find the urgent care center nearest you.
What will stop me from coughing?
Drink lots of fluids. When you’re sick, mucus can trickle down the back of your nose. Staying hydrated thins the drip so it’s less likely to trigger a cough or irritate your throat. This also makes it easier for your lungs to clear out the discharge.
What’s more, a parched body may push your immune system to release more histamines. These chemicals can set off a cough as they swell your nose and make more mucus.
Swallow some honey. It soothes the scratchiness in the back of your throat. One study found that for calming nighttime coughs, honey works just as well as over-the-counter drugs. Take a tablespoon and stir it into a warm drink, but don’t give honey to babies under the age of 1.
Sip a hot drink. Research shows that it can ease coughs and other cold symptoms. The liquids are hydrating, and the heat helps to lower congestion. Brew some calming chamomile tea. Ginger tea is another good choice as this spicy root can help smooth and relax the muscles in your airways.
Clear irritants from your home. Some people are sensitive to perfumes and fragrances in laundry detergents and air fresheners that may irritate the sinuses and up mucus production, which sets the stage for hacking.
Can I go to Urgent Care for the flu?
Consider going to an Urgent Care Center if you or a loved one is experiencing mild to moderate flu symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, headaches, chills, and fatigue.
If you or someone you love is experiencing severe cough, cold or flu symptoms, come to AFC Urgent Care today! We have trained specialists to help you alleviate your symptoms faster. Contact our office today to get in touch with a specialist. To book an appointment, call us or visit us online!