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More than a Cold: How to Know if it’s an Upper Respiratory Infection

Are you congested? Are you sneezing, wheezing, coughing or having a sore throat? It’s that time of year when viruses and bacteria can cause all kinds of problems in your respiratory system. When you experience these symptoms along with a fever, it’s time to think about going to the doctor.

“Upper respiratory infections need to be treated right away before symptoms get worse,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Thomas Allen. “If you, your child or infant have a fever and are congested or having trouble breathing, it could be an infection.”

Children at daycare and school are often susceptible to viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which is an extremely common virus and is easily passed from child to child. When a virus turns into an infection, then your physician will want to see you. Knowing if it is a contagious virus or not can help you decide whether to go to work, school or daycare, or to stay home and not spread germs.

“I’ve had patients complaining of a crushing chest pain and not have much for congestion symptoms and the culprit turned out to be pneumonia. So you just don’t know until tests have been run,” said Dr. Allen.

Possible tests the doctor may order:

  • Chest X-ray for possible pneumonia
  • Skin oxygen level monitoring (finger clip-on; painless)
  • Lab tests of throat scraping, nose scraping or mucus
  • Blood test

Possible treatments

Depending how severe your symptoms are, your physician may prescribe over-the-counter pain killers or decongestants. However, if your symptoms are advanced, you may need nebulizer treatments, breathing machine, epinephrine injections, IV for dehydration or even a hospital stay to get you started on the road to feeling better again.

“At Advance ER, we can help you with everything from major emergencies, such as breathing difficulties, to minor emergencies, such as viral infections,” said Dr. Allen. “We’ve got the board-certified physicians, labs and equipment ready to help you right when you need us the most.”

With our in-house imaging equipment, labs, no-wait access and constant availability, it’s easy to see why Advance ER is top in emergency medical care for north Dallas. When you trust Advance ER with your emergency health care, you know you’re getting the right care at the right time at the right place.

Meet Dr. Allen:

Thomas Allen, M.D., FACEP, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He received his medical degree from Oregon Health Science University, Portland, OR. He completed his internship at the Legacy Health Systems’ Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospitals, Portland, OR, and his residency at the University of Texas at Houston Herman Hospitals, Houston, TX.

Dr. Allen has been practicing for over two decades. He and his family are active in their Dallas community and love being a part of the neighborhood.