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Winter Weather Wellness Woes: What to Do About Them

Fall has rushed to an end and winter is already bursting through the doors and making itself comfortable with its frigid temperature — we’ve even had our first snowfall here in Philadelphia!

And with that, flu season is upon us. But it’s not just the flu that comes with cold weather – there are numerous wintertime ailments that don’t exactly align with the #healthyvybe we regularly strive for. Many of these illnesses present themselves with the same or similar symptoms and can be tricky to treat or even diagnose on your own.

vybe urgent care is here to help distinguish between five of the most common winter weather wellness woes we all experience, and to let you know how to shake them off.

1. A Common Cold

During the winter, we can tend to feel under the weather. When our noses run, we start to cough and feel a fever coming on that we tend to assume is “just a cold.” But what is the common cold? It is a viral infection — meaning it cannot be treated with antibiotics — of the throat and nose. The common cold is harmless and typically resolves on its own. Symptoms include congestion, cough, sore throat, body aches, sneezing and low-grade fever.

A cold will typically run its course in 7-10 days. For symptom relief, try saline nasal sprays and over the counter medications specific to your symptoms.

When should you see a doctor? 

If you believe you are suffering from the common cold, you should pay a visit to your nearest vybe urgent care facility when you have a fever exceeding 101.3* F or lasting more than five days, if you are experiencing wheezing or shortness of breath and if your head or sinus pain feels unbearable.

2. The Flu

We hear the words “flu season” constantly as soon as temperatures begin to drop in September. What is the influenza virus? What distinguishes influenza from the common cold? Unfortunately, the flu presents itself very much like the common cold and carries all of the same symptoms — meaning it’s difficult to know whether your apparent cold is really a far bigger issue.

The flu is caused by influenza viruses (cannot be cured with antibiotics), which infect the throat, nose and sometimes lungs. Unlike a harmless cold, the flu is highly contagious and can range from moderate to severe. The traditional antidote of bed rest and plenty of fluids is the only other proven cure for influenza virus.

When should you see a doctor?

Before the flu has a chance to strike! Stop by any vybe urgent care center to receive your annual flu shot. If you do believe you have contracted the flu virus, head to your nearest vybe urgent care center for a professional diagnosis and prescription antivirals.

3. Sinus Infection

A sinus infection occurs when your sinus cavities become infected or inflamed. While sinus infections are typically caused by viruses much like the cold and flu, they are unique in that they can sometimes be caused by bacteria or fungus.

The symptoms of a sinus infection, while similar to those of cold and flu, are heavily concentrated in the sinuses (shocker). Symptoms of a sinus infection include sinus pain and headaches, nasal discharge, congestion, throat irritation, cough and hoarseness in your speech. Sinus infections also frequently occur in conjunction with the common cold. For treatment in the meantime, nasal rinses, drainage and utilizing saline solution may alleviate some symptoms of sinus infection.

When should you see a doctor?

Visit a practitioner at vybe urgent care immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment of your sinus infection if you experience facial pain, fever, or nasal discharge for a period of over 10 days.

4. Strep Throat

If you’re experiencing extreme throat pain, having trouble swallowing and have swollen tonsils, there’s a possibility you’ve contracted strep throat. If left untreated, strep throat can worsen and cause damage to the kidneys, joints and even heart valves. Strep throat is caused by bacteria and therefore requires a dose of antibiotics and medical treatment to be cured. Additional symptoms include fever, white patches on the tonsils, headache and swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck.

When should you see a doctor?

If you experience any of the symptoms noted above or have trouble breathing at any time, walk into a vybe urgent care as soon as possible to be tested for strep throat, diagnosed, and prescribed the proper antibiotics to effectively treat your infection.

5. Norovirus (Winter Vomiting Bug)

The most unpleasant of common winter ailments is unquestionably the norovirus, commonly mistaken for food poisoning or the stomach flu. Norovirus is extraordinarily contagious and often spreads through communities at a rapid rate — it generally occurs through contamination of food or water and is spread by contaminated materials as well as infected persons. Norovirus is most common in closed-in environments with many people such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes or cruise ships. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains and a low-grade fever.

When should you see a doctor?

Immediately! If you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to norovirus, head to a vybe urgent care facility as soon as possible for proper care. If you are experiencing symptoms indicative of food poisoning or the stomach flu, visit us right away to confirm that the issue is not actually norovirus.

None of these ailments are fun to think about and even less pleasant to experience firsthand, but it’s extremely important to be able to differentiate between all five and know when to seek medical assistance. We urge you to head to your nearest vybe urgent care facility (in Center City, Roxborough, Port Richmond, or South Philly) for immediate care if you feel under the weather for any extended period of time this holiday season.

Our urgent care centers are open seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday and 8:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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