Certain illnesses, while unpleasant, may not be cause for a visit to Habif Health and Wellness Center. Consult the symptom lists below to determine whether you may need medical attention.
If your symptoms do not appear to require a visit to Habif Health and Wellness Center, use the recommended home treatment until the situation either improves or worsens.
If any of your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, please make an appointment to visit Habif.
- A runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, a cough, or mild fatigue and weakness can be common symptoms of both a cold and the flu.
- Fevers, headaches and muscle aches are much rarer symptoms of a cold, and if these symptoms are severe and appeared suddenly, they are likely associated with the flu.
- Fevers of 102-104 °F lasting 3-4 days or extreme exhaustion with a sudden onset are likely symptoms of the flu.
If you believe you have the flu, visit Habif today.
If you believe you have a cold, try this home treatment for the common cold.
Home treatment for the common cold
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen are effective for the fever and muscular aches of the common cold. Because of an association between aspirin and a rare but serious problem of the brain and liver known as Reye’s Syndrome, children and teenagers should not take aspirin or formulas containing aspirin.
The fever, aches and exhaustion are most pronounced in the afternoon and evening, so take medications regularly over this period. You may buy a cold formula over the counter, but remember that the formulas are simply combinations of drugs available singly without a prescription. The combination you buy may not be right for your symptoms and may cost more than a more effective single drug. Rest. Drink plenty of liquid. The body requires more fluid when you have a fever. Fluids help to keep the mucus more liquid and help prevent complications. A vaporizer (particularly in the winter) will help liquefy secretions.
- Severe difficulty swallowing or breathing; drooling excessively
- A temperature of 101 °F or higher
- A red rash that feels like sandpaper, or increased redness in the creases in your skin
- Pus in the back of your throat
- Swollen tonsils
If you have any of these symptoms, visit Habif today.
If you do not have any of these symptoms, your illness is most likely viral and can be treated at home. Try the suggested home treatment for a sore throat.
Home treatment for a sore throat
Cool or lukewarm liquids, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen are effective for sore throat pain and fever. Saltwater gargles and tea with honey or lemon may help. Time is the most important healer for pain. A vaporizer makes the waiting more comfortable for some.
- Is this a clear discharge that began after a head injury? If so, visit Habif today.
- Have your symptoms lasted more than one week? If so, make an appointment with Habif.
If these symptoms don’t apply to you, your illness is most likely a viral infection and can be treated at home. Try the home treatment for a runny nose.
Home treatment for a runny nose
Using handkerchiefs or tissues to blow your nose has the great advantage of safely moving mucus, virus particles and allergens outside the body. A facial tissue has no side effects and costs less than drugs.
If drugs must be used, there are two basic types:
- Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine shrink the mucous membranes and open the nasal passages. These should not be used if taking stimulants (e.g., for ADD) without consulting your doctor. (Note that sprays containing decongestants are suitable for adults, but should not be used for more than three days.)
- Antihistamines block allergic reactions and decrease the amount of secretions. Antihistamines may cause drowsiness and interfere with sleep.
Try to ensure that the mucus is thin rather than thick and sticky in order to prevent complications such as ear and sinus infections. Use saline nasal drops, increase the humidity in the air with a vaporizer or humidifier and drink a large amount of liquid to keep your body hydrated.
- Violent cough that begins suddenly, without signs of a cold, in a person who might have inhaled a small object
- Rapid breathing, difficulty breathing or wheezing
- A cough that produces thick, foul-smelling mucus
- A cough that causes you to vomit
If you have any of these symptoms, visit Habif today.
If you do not have these symptoms, your cough is most likely caused by a cold or other viral infection, and can be treated at home. Try the home treatment for a cough.
Home treatment for a cough
You can help thin the mucus in the breathing tubes and make it less sticky by increasing the humidity in the air with a vaporizer or a steamy shower. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids. Guaifenesin (present in drugs such as Robitussin or Mucinex) can help with a cough and is available without a prescription. Honey has been shown to be as effective as over the counter cough syrups.
If a postnasal drip is causing the cough, decongestants may help. Decongestants should not be used if taking stimulants (e.g., for ADD) without consulting your doctor. Avoid drugs that contain antihistamines because they dry the secretions and make them thicker. However, if an allergy is causing the cough, an antihistamine may help.
- A discharge from the ear
- More than mild ear discomfort
If you have either of these symptoms, visit Habif today.
If you do not have either of these symptoms, the pain is most likely not caused by a serious infection and can be treated at home. Try the home treatment for ear pain.
Home treatment for ear pain
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen will provide partial pain relief. If symptoms continue for more than a few days, or are severe, schedule an appointment to visit Habif.