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Top 5 Respiratory Illnesses

Upper and lower respiratory illnesses are very common in the colder months, as people spend more time inside. These contagious illnesses have various symptoms, but any time you are not feeling well, visit AFC Urgent Care New Bedford. Our physicians can treat all illnesses that are not life-threatening


Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, is a bacterial infection that causes uncontrollable coughing. It is caused by being near an infected person who coughs or sneezes. While symptoms are mild for older children and adults, it can be life-threatening for babies under one year. It is typically resolved with antibiotics, and it can last up to ten weeks. A pertussis vaccine is recommended for all infants at intervals of 2, 4, and 6 months. 


Influenza can include swine flu, bird flu, and influenza A or B (most commonly the seasonal flu). All three illnesses cause similar symptoms, such as fever, headache, cough, and sore throat. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against both the seasonal flu and swine flu. There is a vaccine for bird flu, but it is not annually administered, as it is not nearly as common as the seasonal flu. Since 2003, more than 700 people have contracted bird flu


Pneumonia can be caused by a virus or bacteria. It can come as a complication of the flu, but it is often caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and depend on a patient’s age, current health, and how quickly they receive treatment. Bacterial pneumonia typically causes a fever, congestion, a cough that produces phlegm, and body chills. Since it is caused by bacteria, the best treatment options would include an antibiotic and plenty of rest at home. 


Bronchitis is another illness that can be a complication of a previous virus. It is an inflammation of the lining of your lungs and can cause a cough that produces phlegm. Bronchitis typically lasts ten days without treatment. There are no specific treatment options, but rest and plenty of water can speed up the recovery process. As long as a fever does not develop, bronchitis typically resolves itself within those ten days and doesn’t require any medical attention. 


COVID-19 – the newest illness on this list – still has a lot of unknown information about it. On the other hand, we do know that it is extremely contagious within close vicinities to others and is spread through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze. Symptoms can include fever, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or headache. Some cases can be more severe than others, but most healthy adults experience mild symptoms. AFC Urgent Care New Bedford offers COVID testing for all patients