Common symptoms this time of year include a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, cough, headache, fever, and fatigue. But, are those symptoms viral or bacterial? A cold or the flu?
We have exciting news to share with you. We have a new test to help us determine whether upper respiratory infections are viral or bacterial.
What makes this news exciting? CDC guidelines limit antibiotic use for upper respiratory infections because 85 percent of those infections are caused by a virus and won’t respond to antibiotics. That meant not treating the infections that were bacterial and would respond to antibiotics, but we had no way to identify them. Now we do.
Common symptoms this time of year include a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, cough, headache, fever, and fatigue. If someone has these symptoms, we can swab the nasopharynx and then use the new test to determine whether an infection is viral or bacterial. For example, it will tell us if your infection is caused by one of the following:
A corona virus or a rhinovirus. These viruses are responsible for the typical common cold, and antibiotics have no effect on them.
Influenza, which is treated with antiviral drugs.
Pertussis, which is treated with antibiotics.
If your infection is from a common respiratory virus, we can give you supportive therapy to relieve your suffering as much as possible until you feel better, but we will not expose you to antibiotics. They would not help you. Of course, let us know if you do not improve after 10 to 14 days or if you get worse, and we can then decide what would be the most effective way to help you.
We will offer this test to you if you come to our office with these symptoms. Some insurance companies will pay for it. Others may not. The cash-pay price is $175, but we feel confident it will help all of us do our part to treat upper respiratory infections in the best and most effective way possible.
Please call us if you have any questions 801.328.1260