Q&A: Where to seek care this respiratory virus season

COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are together driving a wave of respiratory illnesses, not just in Arizona, but across the country. To help make sure you have the information you need, we sat down with Michael Ravelo, MD, medical director, HonorHealth Medical Group – Urgent Care, to answer some common questions.

Q: What symptoms are most common for respiratory viruses?

A: Symptoms for respiratory viruses can include fever, cough, fatigue, red eyes, runny nose, headache and sore throat.

Q: With COVID-19, flu and RSV all circulating in the community, how can I tell which one I have?

A: It is difficult to distinguish between the viruses as they share similar symptoms. Testing is the only way to confirm which virus you have. You can contact your primary care provider or visit one of our urgent care locations to get tested.

Where to seek care this respiratory virus season - HonorHealth

Q: How long do infections typically last?

A: Usually these types of infections last one to two weeks. Much of the time, they go away on their own. Over-the-counter pain medications can help you feel better and drink plenty of fluids to make sure you stay hydrated.

Q: When should I see a doctor?

A: You should see a doctor if you have:

  • A fever for more than three days or if it is above 103 degrees
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A weakened immune system due to a pre-existing medical condition
  • Symptoms that are prolonged, serve, worsening or reoccurring

Q: When should I choose urgent care vs. an emergency room?

A: You should go to an urgent care:

  • To be tested
  • If you have a fever, even a low-grade one, for more than three days
  • If you can’t get in to see your primary care provider and have a weakened immune system
  • Symptoms that are prolonged, serve, worsening or occurring

You should go to an emergency room:

  • If you have a fever and it is accompanied by any of the following symptoms: seizures, difficulty breathing, confusion, rash, severe headache, vomiting or diarrhea, or a stiff neck.

Q: Is there anything I can do to protect myself from getting sick this cold and flu season?

A: You can prevent illness by washing your hands frequently and staying up-to-date on vaccinations. It’s not too late to get your flu shot or to receive your COVID-19 vaccine or booster. If you do get sick, it’s important to stay home so you don’t spread the illness to others.

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If you need emergency services, visit one of our locations. If you’re experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.