Is it COVID or is it Flu?
Today, if you wake up with a headache, fever, sore throat, cough and body aches, you probably will spend significant time wondering if it is the flu or COVID. In the past, you may have spent a few minutes running down a list of people you’d been around who had the flu, but now you have to worry about exposure to COVID-19. As the threat of the new Omicron variant looms large, we have to be especially vigilant with ourselves and our children. So how do you know if it’s Influenza A or if it’s COVID? At Medco ER & Urgent Care in Plano, TX, our board-certified physicians are here to help you answer that dilemma.
“The difficulty is in the shared symptoms,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan. “Both influenza and COVID can present with fever, chills, muscle soreness, and cough. Some people experience diarrhea and vomiting with either condition. So, short of getting tested, it is hard to know whether it’s flu or COVID.”
There are many similarities between flu and COVID-19, though the severity can vary. People may experience very mild cases of either condition, or they can experience severe cases and even need hospitalization. Either flu or COVID can result in secondary infections, such as pneumonia, and require advanced treatment.
Here’s a list of the common symptoms1 that can occur in either condition:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
“One of the most prominent symptoms that may help you know the difference is the classic loss of the senses of taste and smell. Usually, that is a good way to realize you probably have COVID and should come in and get tested right away,” said Dr. Khan. “Additionally, if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, that is another indicator of COVID, but it could also mean you’re moving into a chest condition with the flu. But that should be looked at right away by one of our qualified physicians.”
How it is spread
Both the flu and COVID are highly contagious, though they are caused by completely different viruses. They are both spread through contact with other people who are infected with the germs. Coughs and sneezes can transmit microscopic droplets laden with the virus, or even just talking can transmit the virus. When these droplets are inhaled or enter through the eyes or mouth, the virus then spreads to that person.2
Medco ER & Urgent Care is ready to help
If you are unsure if you have the flu or COVID, come to Medco ER & Urgent Care right away for a Rapid Antigen Test with one swipe swab. Results are ready in 15 minutes, so you will know right away if you have the flu or COVID. Not ready to come in? Try a telehealth visit and get fast advice from one of our board-certified physicians.
- Book a Rapid Antigen Test at Plano:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000
- Book a Rapid Antigen Test at Carrollton:
2745 E Belt Line Road, Carrollton, TX 75006
An Expert’s Guide to Nausea & Vomiting
If you or your child ever awakened in the night with a sudden bout of upset stomach, nausea or an urge to vomit, you have probably wondered what caused it. Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of an underlying condition which could be anything from a common infection to an intestinal obstruction or even appendicitis. While nobody wants to suffer from intractable nausea and vomiting, you can be assured that the board-certified physicians at Medco ER & Urgent Care of Plano are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating these conditions using a thorough history & physical exam as well as use of the advanced lab tests and imaging tools.
“Nausea and vomiting are indicators of an underlying distress in the body,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora. “We need to perform a complete evaluation to pinpoint the exact cause, which could vary widely from patient to patient. We may need to follow it up with blood tests and a CT scan. In the end, we will be able to construct a treatment plan that’s appropriate for the patient.”
What are the causes of nausea and vomiting?
There are many causes of nausea and vomiting. Some of the most common ones encountered in the Urgent Care & ER setting are as follows:
- Food poisoning
- Viral gastroenteritis – commonly called stomach flu
- Pregnancy – morning sickness
- Intestinal obstruction
- Alcohol consumption
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Heart attack
- Intestinal intussusception in young children
- Kidney stone
- Motion sickness
What are some of the symptoms that can accompany nausea and vomiting?
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Dehydration – sunken eyes, chapped lips, dry mouth, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, decreased urine output, dark colored urine, strong smelling urine, sunken fontanelle (soft spot on infant’s head)
What are signs of an emergency?
If your nausea and vomiting are accompanied by any of these symptoms, you need to immediately go to the nearest emergency room.
- Chest pain
- Stiff neck and high fever
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Loss of consciousness
- Sharp pain
- Uncontrolled dehydration
- Blood in stool
- Blood in urine
- Blood, green color or something like coffee grounds in vomit
- Fecal odor in vomit
Simple treatment options at home include the importance to pushing hydration and drinking fluids. Carbonated and sweet liquids can sometimes soothe the stomach better than water. Mint tea is also quite helpful for certain conditions. Rehydrate with an electrolyte-ready solution or drink. Stay home and rest. Avoid triggers such as perfumes, odors, lights, driving and heat. A few hours after vomiting, try bland foods like toast, crackers or gelatin. Keep your head elevated.
There are different types of medications that are used in the clinical setting depending on the various conditions and age group. Our physicians at Medco ER do not just provide prescriptions but they can make you feel better quickly with IV medications and IV fluids right on the spot and help you go home feeling great.
When should I go to the ER?
As a rule of thumb, if your vomiting has lasted for longer than 24 hours, seek medical attention at Medco ER & Urgent Care. We are open 24/7, and happy to help anytime you want to come see us.
- Plano location:
3960 Legacy Drive, Plano TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-392-4000