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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Do sore throats, breathlessness, chills and headaches require an ER consultation?

Answered by
Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3584 Questions

Posted on Thu, 2 Aug 2018 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: 69 yr old, sick for 3 days, today getting worse. fever 100, chills and sweats, sore throat, difficulty breathing, headache for one week. taking Tylenol sinus 3 times a day, tea with honey, soup broth, water. sleeping 12 hrs at a time. had flu shot & pneumonia shot. can I wait to see my Dr or do I need urgent care?
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
urgent care is probably required

Detailed Answer:

although the symptoms are consistent with many common viral diseases the symptom that made me suggest urgent care is "difficulty breathing". In such cases the cause has to be investigated immediately. Breathing difficulties may occur with pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, worsening of pre-existing heart failure, etc.

The rest of the symptoms (sore throat, chills, etc) are very common in many respiratory tract infections and the fever is not high. The duration (3 days) is not long enough to draw any conclusions. It's very common for any infectious disease to last for more than 3 days. Getting worse - on the other hand - is something worrisome, although we do expect an escalation of the symptoms for the first couple of days in most cases.

So in conclusion, patients with breathing difficulties require immediate assessment to exclude serious disorders and receive timely treatment.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 4 minutes later
I have a pulmonologist, have had pneumonia in last two years twice. Pulmonologist has ruled out COPD and heart difficulty. Same as other episodes my biox is normal but lungs are heavy and hurting I will see urgent care physician

Are you familiar with normal biox but heavy lungs/huffing to breathe? Thank you for the reply answer and this followup..

Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 10 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
You're welcome!

Are you talking about spirometry? If your SpO2 is normal then pneumonia is less likely but it can't be excluded. Dyspnea is a symptom - a subjective feeling that you need more air. It does not always correlate with objective findings (like SpO2). Obviously without subjective findings the risk for serious causes is much lower.

It's good to know that you don't have COPD or heart failure as these comorbidities increase the likelihood of complications with any infection.

I agree with your decision to visit the urgent care physician. Clinical assessment is invaluable in such cases.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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