PARKLAND, FL - Let’s face it: getting sick these days makes us all really nervous.
What could it be? Is it just allergies? Could it be Covid-19?
Should you call a doctor? Or should you rush out to the nearest coronavirus testing site?
Before doing anything, take a deep breath and learn about the symptoms of the illnesses to sort out the differences and figure out the best treatment.
Dr. Cory Harow, the medical director of the emergency room at West Boca Medical Center, explains that symptoms of a cold, flu, Covid-19 and even allergies can be similar.
However, all of these are caused by different viral or immune responses, and the difference can be undetectable by symptoms alone, Dr. Harow said.
“There’s a lot of overlap and it can be hard to know the difference even by medical providers,” he said.
The first thing you need to do is understand your symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health provide a breakdown of the most common symptoms, all of which may vary from person to person. Click here to learn about the specific symptoms.
In general, if you have a sore throat, fever and cough, get tested – either visit your doctor’s office or go to a testing site (here’s a list of sites in Broward County).
But if the symptoms are more serious such as high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath, go to an emergency room or call 911 for help.
And for those who have been sick and tested for Covid-19 and then had to wait days for results, Dr. Harow said you should consider treating the ailments as if you are positive for the virus and should wear a mask and avoid contact with people, especially senior citizens and others who are most vulnerable to getting infected.
“You need to be a good citizen of a larger community and limit exposure to other people,” he said.
Most important: don’t delay care.
One way to avoid getting sick during this season is getting the seasonal flu shot, which is now available, Dr. Harow said.
Check with your insurance provider and find out where you can get the shot, often for free.
“Prevention is the number one goal right now,” Dr. Harow said.