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October 8, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

YANMD filter: is my laryngitis bacterial or viral? If the former... weekend medical clinics in Manhattan? Halp.

First things first: I know YANMD. I've had a cold and, as of last night, seem to have acquired laryngitis. I can't talk at all. I'm resting, not talking, drinking hot things, etc. Feh. The question is just whether it's worth going to the doctor for. I know there is no point in a doctor visit if it's viral. So the question is whether it's bacterial or not.

In favor of viral: teh interwebs says that laryngitis is often viral, and is in fact a common side effect of the common cold.

In favor of bacterial (maybe): this has never happened to me before (I'm in my 30s). So this isn't just what my body does when faced with a cold. Also, in the AM -- only in the AM -- I cough up some nasty green gunk. Some people seem to think that green = bacterial, but I have no idea whether that's true. (The rest of the day my cough is dry, and I'm trying not to do it.)

If I should go to a doctor: anyone know a weekend clinic in Manhattan (preferably the Village/Soho) that accepts Beech Street insurance? I'm just in NYC for a few months, so my PCP is elsewhere. And Beech Street's "provider search" function on their website is crap.

tl/dr: 1) should I go to the doctor? 2) if so, help me figure out where.

Thanks, all you not-my-doctors.
posted by kestrel251 to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
 
1) yes you should go to the doctor. There's no other way to diagnose you than a throat swab. 2) you can also go to an urgent care facility, or one of those low-cost clinics that have popped up in some drug stores. Around here (DC), there are some in CVSs called MinuteClinics. They take most insurance and wont' charge you if it is indeed viral (since they only charge if they treat you, and you can't treat viral infections).
posted by General Malaise at 12:02 PM on October 8, 2010


I meant to add: the clinics in Duane Reade don't take my insurance, and although I think the ones in CVS do, they don't seem to exist in Manhattan (the clinics, I mean; there are definitely CVSs here!)
posted by kestrel251 at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2010


The Beth Israel DOCS clinic in Chelsea is open 24 hours. I don't know if they take your insurance, but they might since they're affiliated with a major hospital.
posted by bedhead at 12:19 PM on October 8, 2010


IANAD: Unless you have underlying health issues that make things like cold, flu, bronchial issues more serious than the average 30something or if you have a sustained high fever, I'd give it a few days of rest and fluids before going to the doctor. See if you can get an appointment for early next week.
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:20 PM on October 8, 2010


Laryngitis is more of a symptom than a disease. It's just inflammation. If you've had a cold that shows no signs of bacterial origin, chances are extremely good that your laryngitis, even if you don't usually get it, is just a side effect of the cold. Green isn't necessarily bacterial, although bacterial infections often come with green or yellow mucus.

If it was me and I wasn't running a notable fever or actually feeling sicker than I normally would with a cold, I'd wait at least a few days. It doesn't really sound likely to be urgent. See if Mucinex helps, sometimes it does for me a bit. Morning's always the worst time for mucus, I don't usually get worried if I have a cold unless I'm still coughing up stuff like that by later in the day. Your body may be changing how it reacts to colds, or this one may just be a little different than others. If I was running a notable fever or feeling progressively worse for more than a couple days, that would be my 'doctor' point.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:37 PM on October 8, 2010


A note for those of y'all who worry about green mucus: it has NOTHING do do with whether the infection is viral or bacterial. So long as you're hacking up something on the clear/white/yellow/green spectrum, you are firmly within the range of normal for EITHER of those bugs (cite here).
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:30 PM on October 8, 2010


My doc says come in if any of the following are true:

* Fever of above 102
* Symptoms enduring for a week, or worsening for more than three days
* Real trouble breathing or swallowing, or dreams in which you're drowning or suffocating
* Pain so severe it wakes you up

Apart from that? Tea and sleep. Of course, IANAD.
posted by KathrynT at 2:03 PM on October 8, 2010


The Chelsea clinics are pretty nightmarish, wait-time-wise. (I spent a lot of time at those clinics with weekend strep.) 55 E. 34th Street is better IMO.
posted by zvs at 2:18 PM on October 8, 2010


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