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Friday, March 1, 2013


If you've had the awful cold virus with an unrelenting cough that's been going around, don't expect it to go away any time soon.  According to a recent NBC report, the cough could last 18 days and as much as three weeks and there's little medicine to give you relief. Although many doctors will give you antibiotics if you request them, they will do nothing to alleviate the symptoms as antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. The thing to look for is if it develops into pneumonia.
If you have difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, a temperature over 102 with chills and sweating, then it's time to head to the doctor.

Viral Pneumonia symptoms from Web MD

 Symptoms of viral pneumonia include: 

  • Low-grade fever (less than 102° F)
  • Coughing up small amounts of mucus
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle aches
Symptoms of pneumonia caused by a virus usually go on for several days to a few weeks before you call your doctor. Most people with bacterial pneumonia get sick very quickly and see a doctor within a few days.

When to Seek Medical Care

Go to your hospital's emergency department or call your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms:
  • Shortness of breath, either at rest or with just a little exertion
  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe weakness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomiting so much that you are dehydrated

Bacterial Pneumonia symptoms from Web MD

Doctors often refer to typical and atypical pneumonias, based on your signs and symptoms. This can help to predict the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia, how long you can expect to be sick, and your best treatment.

  • Typical pneumonia comes on very quickly.
    • You usually have a high fever and shaking chills.
    • When you cough, your sputum is yellow or brown.
    • You may have chest pain, which is usually worse with breathing or coughing. Your chest also may be sore when you touch or press it.
    • You may be very short of breath, especially if you have any chronic lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
    • Because chest pain also can be a sign of other serious medical conditions, do not try to diagnose yourself.
  • Atypical pneumonia has a gradual onset.
    • It is called "walking pneumonia."
    • You may have had another illness in the days to weeks before the pneumonia.
    • Your temperature is usually lower, and shaking chills are less likely.
    • You may have a headache, body aches, and joint pain.
    • Your cough may be dry or produce only a little sputum. You may not have any chest pain.
    • You may have abdominal pain.
    • You may have other symptoms, such as feeling tired or weak.
    • Older people can have confusion or a change in their mental abilities as a sign of pneumonia or other infection.

When to Seek Medical Care

When to call the doctor
  • If you cough up yellow, green, or brown sputum, make an appointment with your doctor.
  • If you have fever, chills, shortness of breath, chest pain, or confusion, make an appointment with your doctor.
  • If you are healthy, you can safely make an appointment to see your doctor. A day or 2 wait should not make a big difference, unless you are experiencing significant shortness of breath, or if any signs of confusion are present.
When to go to the hospital
Anyone with shortness of breath should always seek emergency care. Shortness of breath is not simply the feeling that you can't take a full breath. It is the feeling that you cannot take in enough air to meet your body’s needs. It is a potentially serious symptom and always requires a visit to an Emergency Department, 

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