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Pauline, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 8631
Experience:  Medical Doctor & Registered Pharmacist. Worked as Community pharmacist for 17 years.
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bad head cold, very runny nose and swollen glands..sore throat

Resolved Question:

This infections started typically with a sore throat. Then rather quickly evolved into a bad head cold, very runny nose and swollen glands. The sore throat is still there (not quite as intense). It doesn''t seem to be getting better. I''m into my fourth day. Could this be a bacterial infection?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Pauline replied 9 years ago.
Most sore throats are viral so I would expect this to start improving over the next few days. If there is difficulty swallowing or any pus on the tonsils then see your doctor earlier for a swab. You can treat the nasal symptoms with painkillers and decongestant such as Sudafed. Use local anaesthetic lozenge or spray for the throat.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Pauline's Post: This is not your normal sore throat/cold. Colds evolve; the symptoms are stagnating. Also note the additional info I forwarded in terms of my health history and recent events in my life. Also, I haven't got swollen glands in 40 years! I guess my conern is I'm feeling the same I did day 1!
Expert:  Pauline replied 9 years ago.

If the sore throat is not getting any better then we usually swab after day 5, (unless there is obvious pus). It sounds like your system has been put under a lot of stress so I would not be surprised that you are not feeling better. If you have been exposed to a virus or bacteria that is not a local strain, then it does take longer for your system to produce the right antibodies and start to show improvement.

Swollen glands are non specific for bacterial, fungal or viral infection although if they are tender then that can indicate bacterial in some patients. The only way to be certain is to have some swabs run.

Aside from antibiotics for a bacterial sore throat, the treatment remains the same for relief of symptoms whatever the cause. So if you are feeling very bad then see your doctor.

Pauline and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Pauline's Post: I cannot remember the last time I was this sick. Why haven't the symptoms evolved? In other words, why do I feel the same as I did day 1? I don't typically take over the counter medicines as I believe that though they might make you feel better, they don't address the source of the infection and may even drag the illness out. Therefore,It seems to be it's probably bacterial?
Expert:  Pauline replied 9 years ago.

You are feeling sick because your immune system is being attacked by a pathogen. If you do not normally get a great deal of exposure to a range of organisms then your body does not have the information it needs to speed up healing. The fact that your glands are swollen show that your lymphocytes are gearing up production and are flooding your system. A systemic feeling of malaise and unwellness is usually associated with viral due to the specific factors that are released. Bacterial infection usually has a more local symptom although it is possible to get a secondary bacterial system after a viral infection.

It has only been four days, so I would allow your body time to deal with this. Your doctor can run swabs and check your blood count if you want more information about what is causing this, however most of the time people try to control their symptoms until the virus is taken care of. Unless there is obvious sign of a bacterial (purulent) sore throat or one that .lasts longer than 5 days in which case antibiotics may be necessary. Ring your doctor on Monday for an appointment, and in the meantime drink plenty of fluids and rest over the weekend.