It is that time of the year again. You could get this year's strain of the flu, a cold, strep throat or end of season allergies. When you get any one of these, it is hard to tell just what it is you have. Thankfully, general practice physicians in many walk-in and urgent care clinics can quickly determine what it is you have. Here is how they do that.
Strep throat, with its trademark sore throat, can mimic the flu and allergies. Your general practitioner is able to determine what you have by first performing a five-minute rapid strep test, This test takes a swab of the bacteria and cells on your throat and exposes it to a strep detection chemical. In five minutes the general practitioner has the results. If even a little strep bacteria is present, this test will reveal it. If no strep is present, your general physician will move on to the next possible and similar illness.
The flu, surprisingly, also has a swab test. Every year when a new strain of flu surfaces, researchers produce a swab test that will show the virus under the microscope. This swab test, however, requires that your doctor insert swabs way up inside your nasal passages before placing the swabs in tubes and sending them to the lab. If the lab confirms you have the flu, that is how your doctor knows that the flu is your problem.
Allergies can produce a sore throat, sweating, congestion, runny nose, sneezing and even coughing when mucus travels down the windpipe. After your GP (general physician) has ruled out strep and this year's strain of the flu, the next thing he or she will do is test you for seasonal allergies. Both indoor and late season outdoor allergies may be the problem. Scratch tests for allergies and swabs wiped on microscope slides will help your doctor figure out which allergens are triggering your symptoms.
A cold often mimics all of the above upper respiratory and seasonal illnesses that befall people at this time of year. There are some marked differences, however. A cold typically does not have a fever like strep or the flu, nor will it cause your eyes to water and your throat to itch like an allergy does. If your doctor also puts you through all of the above tests and rules out the flu, strep throat and allergies, then you absolutely know that you have a cold.
I am one of those people who hates going to the doctor. In the past, I have relied on everything from cranberry juice to apple cider vinegar to fix my ails. As I get older though, I find that I need to rely more on traditional medicine than I did in the past. What I found out from my doctor is that I did not have to give up the holistic medicines I used. I could combine them. This blog is designed to help others focus on how to combing holistic treatments with traditional medicine in a safe and fun way.