When to visit the doctor

Dr. Jeb Hornsby is a family practice physician in Hartselle.
Dr. Jeb Hornsby is a family practice physician in Hartselle.

HARTSELLE, AL (WAFF) - Christopher Lott said he's been fighting the crud for a while. He finally conceded defeat to the symptoms and went in for a doctor's visit. He's being seen by Dr. Jeb Hornsby, a family practice physician in Hartselle.

Hornsby said if the symptoms are not too bad and you are not exposed to a lot of people at school or work, you might be able to muddle through it.  However, he said common sense has to enter into the decision.

"But if you are with the public every day, especially in the medical field where you are seeing sickly people or potentially frail people, it's pretty important to get checked out pretty quickly," he said.

Another thing to consider, while it may not be the flu, it still could be contagious. That's another reason to stay home and visit the doctor.

Medicines also play a factor.

"Another theory is if you're not able to control your symptoms with over the counter medications, if you're still coughing a lot or have a lot of drainage and things like that, that you're potentially contaminating surfaces and the air like that, and that would be something you need to be seen about," added Hornsby.

Fever can be another good indicator to call the doctor, according to Hornsby.

"Certainly that's one of the main symptoms of flu. It could be a symptom of strep throat. Occasionally, even people with stomach viruses will run a little bit of a fever," he said.

You cannot get better without sleep.

"If the symptoms are so bad you're not resting, you can't sleep. That's a good reason to see a doctor just because it makes it harder to get out of your illness if you're not able to get a good night's rest," Hornsby added.

Lott said he's been fighting this for three weeks and it has been bad for three days.   Hornsby said it was time for him to come in.

"Longer than a week or 10 days of coughing, congestion, drainage - certainly, we would need to see you at that point as well."

Hornsby said it's better to be safe - and healthy.

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