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Trying to determine if this is a viral or bacterial

infection. JA: What are all the...
Trying to determine if this is a viral or bacterial infection.
JA: What are all the symptoms you're experiencing (e.g. loss of appetite, fever, rash)?
Customer: Sore throat 5 days, coughing last 3 , especially the last day coughing up greyish phlegm, headache and just one day of low grade fever the first day of sore throat
JA: Is the headache episodic or daily? And what about nausea?
Customer: The headache has been daily but is worsened by cough. Nausea to some extent, but I’m pregnant.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: I don’t think so
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
11/14/2017
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8,036
Experience: MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
Verified

Hi,
Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. Im sorry to hear about your symptoms. Actually usually a bacterial infection would cause white spots in the back of the throat along with a high grade fever along with redness in the back of the throat. Usually a viral infection does not cause white spots and in viral infections you would have the symptoms for a maximum of 7-10 days in most cases. HOWEVER if there are white spots in the back of the throat then you may have a bacterial infection and that would need to be treated with antibiotics.

The absence of a fever in your case goes more in favour of a viral infection however the grey phlegm can indicate that the infection can gotten down into the lungs. Even a viral infection can cause problems in the lungs and that is why if the cough worsens in the next 2-3 days or you develop shortness of breath then you should have this evaluated by visiting your doctor.

In the meantime you should use OTC ibuprofen or tylenol, saline gargles, OTC antihistamines like zyrtec, claritin or benadryl as well.

Do you have any more questions?

Please leave a POSITIVE rating by clicking on the stars above, until you do i am not compensated for my time. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the POSITIVE rating. You can also ask questions from me directly by going on the link below,

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
Since I’m pregnant, is there anything most safe for symptom relief? I️ also don’t see white spots, but it might look sort of marbled?

Antihistamines are safe in pregnancy and so is tylenol. Do you have a picture that you can attach here?

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
I️ also think I️ can feel a post nasal issue. Sounds gross, but feels like there is a “booger” in the back of my throat and I️ keep trying to swallow but it doesn’t go away

That could be post nasal drip as you rightly pointed out which would indicate that the infection has tracked up into the sinuses. This would be diagnosed with a sinus xray or a clinical examination and in that case saline lavages of the sinuses would be very helpful.

Do you have any more questions?

Please leave a POSITIVE rating by clicking on the stars above, until you do i am not compensated for my time. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the POSITIVE rating. You can also ask questions from me directly by going on the link below,

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
Might be hard to tell here
Customer reply replied 29 days ago
you aren’t sure if this is viral or bacterial?

Thanks for the picture,

Actually the throat does not seem to be indicative of a bacterial infection, the symptoms that you have described are MORE in line with a viral infection. if this was bacterial then it should have cause white spoits, high grade fever and more severe symptoms. This is more like a viral infection which CAN cause lung and sinuses issues as well.

Do you have any more questions?

Please leave a POSITIVE rating by clicking on the stars above, until you do i am not compensated for my time. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the POSITIVE rating. You can also ask questions from me directly by going on the link below,

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
How many days should I️ wait until I️ see a dr in person if it doesn’t improve? When you say CAN cause issues, do you mean the current issues I️ have? Or it could cause other problems I️ need to be cautious of?

Yes when i say can cause issues, what i mean is that viruses can cause your current symptoms of phlegm and mucus in the back of the throat (lung and sinus issues).

I would say you can wait another 3-4 days PROVIDED the symptoms dont worsen or you dont spike a fever in excess of 102 F, if that happens see your doctor earlier.

Do you have any more questions?

Please leave a POSITIVE rating by clicking on the stars above, until you do i am not compensated for my time. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the POSITIVE rating. You can also ask questions from me directly by going on the link below,

http://www.justanswer.com/medical/expert-dr-muneeb-ali/

Dr. Muneeb Ali
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8,036
Experience: MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
Verified
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