Urgent care centers can help distinguish amongst illnesses with flu-like symptoms.

1/20/2016

During colder months, MedExpress physicians remind patients that flu may not be the only cause of flu-like symptoms. It can be difficult to determine what might be causing aches and fevers because so many illnesses, particularly viruses, present themselves with the same list of symptoms.

From commonplace illnesses such as a cold, strep throat and pharyngitis (sore throat) to more severe illnesses such as influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia or even meningitis and tonsillitis − all can be attributed to fatigue, fever, congestion and body aches. With so many similar symptoms, determining what is or isn’t the cause is an important step toward identifying whether or not it’s flu and the best treatment option and treatment location.

The CDC is currently reporting 43 states that are experiencing either high or widespread flu activity, with reports that patient visits for the treatment of influenza-like-illness (ILI) are now almost even with peak numbers from the 2012-2013 flu season.

“Flu-like symptoms shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Something like a cough can manifest as the flu but actually be caused by other viruses such as meningitis, enterovirus or even an upper respiratory infection,” said Dena Nader, MD, Regional Medical Director for MedExpress.

“Have your symptoms looked at early. Don’t wait for your symptoms to worsen before visiting a health care professional to determine the cause.”

Urgent care centers are a convenient place to have flu-like symptoms assessed and can serve as a point of entry into the larger health care system if needed. Urgent care centers often perform chest X-rays, rapid strep and rapid flu testing on site and can determine if symptoms require basic treatment or if the patient should be referred to a more appropriate setting, such as a hospital, for more involved treatment.

“Viruses are easily spread and a visit to a health care provider is necessary to determine proper diagnosis and treatment,” said Nader. “This is especially important for those who are considered to be a part of a high-risk group, such as seniors, pregnant women, children and individuals with asthma, diabetes or lung disease.”

As a neighborhood medical center, MedExpress offers a broad scope of urgent care, employer health and wellness and prevention services and works to coordinate care with other area health care providers. MedExpress centers are staffed by a full medical team and are open 12 hours a day, seven days a week with no appointment needed. They offer walk-in treatment for everyday illness and injury, including X-rays, IVs, EKGs, labs, minor surgery, stitches and treatment for broken bones, sprains and strains.