Are their any indicators if an infection is bacterial? I began feeling ill 5 days ago. Started with the "chills" (I wasn't sure if I was sick or not--because I was staying in a hotel room that was COLD!") The next day, I had the chills and a sore throat (no congestion). The third day, some nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, sometimes phlem. Fourth day, nasal congestion, body aches (possibly from the coughing), occasional sneezing, more phlem (light to dark yellow) -- and hard to cough up, fever of 100.4. Fifth day, I am still congested, feel like the phlem is just building in my chest and can't get it out. NO fever, however I am on cold medicine--I have tried several over-the-counters. In the past when I've gone to the doctor, many times they say it is viral and there is nothing they can prescribe. How should one determine if they should go in or not? Also, is there anything I can do at home to try to break up some of the congestion in my chest? Thank You!
It is not easy to tell if an infection is viral or bacterial. Many times, they will both give you the symptoms you have described. Acute bacterial infections are more likely to cause a fever. Chronic sinusitis is not. Some viral infections have a fever, others do not. Viral infections are far more common in the winter, usually go away in 3 to 7 days and are mostly an annoyance. Bacterial infections may not get better without antibiotics and make you feel really badly. There are medications that loosen the congestion and make it easier to cough up. They are medications that contain guiafenesin.
If these symptoms are persisting and not improving, you should see your physician.
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