How to Know When Your Cough and Congestion Symptom Mean You Need to Go to Urgent Care

How to Know When Your Cough and Congestion Symptom Mean You Need to Go to Urgent Care 150 150 Tony Guo

How to Know When Your Cough and Congestion Symptom Mean You Need to Go to Urgent Care

You’re sick and exhausted from coughing, but you want to avoid the emergency room at all costs. The last thing you want to do is spend your day off in a waiting room with people suffering from the flu. Luckily, there are other options, like urgent care facilities that can help you get better faster than your doctor’s office can (and without the long wait). Follow this guide to learn how to know when your cough and congestion symptoms mean you need to go to urgent care.

What are the signs of serious illness?
Serious illness tends to happen suddenly. A sudden loss of appetite, intense pain, dizziness or a high fever are all signs that you need urgent medical care. If you have any of these symptoms in combination with your cough and congestion symptoms, you’re probably dealing with an infection or other serious illness that requires immediate medical attention.

Can I try home remedies first?
If you’re experiencing a cough, fever or other symptoms for less than three days (especially if it’s your first time getting sick that season) you may be able to treat yourself at home. Try these five home remedies before considering a trip to urgent care or your doctor.

What if my symptoms get worse?
It can be difficult to know when something more serious is going on with your health, so if you’re worried about your cough or congestion, make sure to see a doctor. Even though you feel like your symptoms aren’t getting worse, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is fine—especially if you have other symptoms of a viral illness, such as sore throat or fever.

What will happen at urgent care?
If your cough has persisted for more than two weeks or if you experience a cough that is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you should go to urgent care: fever, headache, chills, fatigue, confusion or shortness of breath. If your family physician determines that your symptoms are caused by an infection or condition that requires treatment with antibiotics (even if it doesn’t require hospitalization), you will likely be referred to an urgent-care center. Otherwise, most cases can be treated in an outpatient setting.

Where do I go for this type of help?
Before you go, be sure you know where you want to go. For immediate medical care, start with your primary care doctor. If he or she can’t help you (or doesn’t have an urgent care center on-site), ask for a referral.

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