Feeling under the weather? Knowing when to pick up the phone and schedule a sick visit with Dr. Rogers Walker and the team here at Walker Family Care in Little River, South Carolina, can sometimes be a challenging decision. You might wonder if your symptoms are severe enough or if they will simply go away on their own.
To help you make an informed choice, here are some clear signs that it's time to call and make that sick visit:
You have a persistent high fever
If you or a family member has a fever that remains high for more than a couple of days, especially in children, it's a sign that something more serious could be going on.
Consider making a sick visit if:
- You’re an adult with a high fever that you can’t break after a few days.
- Your fever is accompanied by lethargy, a rash, confusion, neck pain, or vomiting.
- Your baby under three months of age has a fever (above 100.4°F or 38°C) with or without any other symptoms.
- Your child has a fever accompanied by lethargy, a rash, confusion, neck pain, or vomiting.
Remember, a fever is your body’s way of fighting off invading germs, and the best way to fully feel better is to treat the root cause of what’s causing your fever.
You have pain or discomfort
Common illnesses can make you feel tired, but they can also cause pain and discomfort. Pain can appear in a number of ways, including:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Facial pain (such as with sinus infections)
While you wait for your appointment, you might consider at-home treatments, such as gargling salt water, drinking warm tea, taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, or applying heating pads to sore muscles.
You have persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you or a family member is unable to keep food or fluids down because of persistent vomiting or diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration and should be addressed promptly. Dehydration can be serious if left untreated.
You have a rash
If you notice a rash accompanied by a fever, especially in children, it could be a sign of an underlying infection or illness that needs medical evaluation. Scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, chicken pox, and shingles are all examples of infectious diseases that cause rashes.
Your symptoms linger too long
When symptoms of a common illness, like the flu or a cold, persist for longer than expected (typically more than a week) or worsen over time, it's time to give us a call. Sometimes, the initial viral infection can lead to secondary bacterial infections. If that’s the case, you’ll need antibiotics to clear the bacterial infection.
You have concerns about a chronic condition
If you have a chronic health condition like diabetes or hypertension and experience symptoms that are out of the ordinary, let us know. People with underlying conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, have a higher risk for flu-related complications.
You have a cough
It’s normal to have a slight cough with the common cold, especially if you have postnasal drip irritating your throat. However, if you notice any of the following, it’s time to make a sick visit:
- It hurts to cough.
- Your cough sounds like a bark ( a red flag for croup).
- Your cough produces thick mucus.
- Your cough is accompanied by a fever.
- You wheeze when you cough.
Regardless of what type of cough you have, be sure to drink plenty of water, hot broth, herbal tea, and if needed, cough drops.
If you've recently traveled to areas with known health risks or experienced illness after traveling, contact Dr. Walker promptly.
You think you may have a urinary tract infection
Though upper respiratory infections are extremely common this time of year, it isn’t the only type of infection that can leave you feeling less than your best. Urinary tract infections (UTI) can cause pain while urinating, bloody urine, and increased frequency. You might also report back pain, a fever, and fatigue.
Don’t try to power through these symptoms. Infections can quickly spread through your urinary tract and up to your kidneys.
When to skip the urgent care and head to the hospital
When pain becomes severe and is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medications or if you experience chest pain, severe abdominal pain, or severe headaches, it's time to seek immediate medical attention. These can be signs of serious conditions such as appendicitis or heart attacks. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
What to expect during your sick visit
During your appointment, Dr. Walker conducts a thorough examination, inquires about your symptoms, and may order diagnostic tests like X-rays or blood work if necessary. After a diagnosis is made, Dr. Walker discusses a treatment plan with you, which may include prescribing medications, administering minor procedures or treatments, and offering guidance on at-home care if needed.
When in doubt, it's always better to be safe than sorry. To make a sick visit, call 843-280-8333 to schedule an appointment. You can also click here to get started.