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COMMON COLD: WHEN TO GO TO THE DOCTOR

January 22, 2019 3:09 pm | Published by

Written by Dr. Erik Richardson | Original content found at https://youtu.be/zvlNZzV8V-c

Are you sick of going to the doctor when you have a common cold just to be told there is nothing that can be done? If so, then this is the video for you. In this video we will go through what the cold is and when you or your child should go to the doctor to be seen.

Here is a summary of what we talked about

The common cold is an infection of your nose and throat, we call it the upper respiratory tract. Even though it may not feel that way, it is usually harmless. It is caused by a one of several different viruses. Now a virus is a small particle that is able to enter a cell and cause an illness. The problem with a virus is they cannot be killed by an antibiotic. That’s why usually, when you see your doctor and its felt that you have one of those viral infections, you get the pat on a back and a sympathetic smile and a nice bill in the mail. There isn’t any cure or treatment that we can give you that’s going to take this away.

Kids have an average of 8-10 colds a year while adults tend to average between 2-4.

Common Symptoms:

  • Tickle in throat or nose
  • Runny/Stuffy Nose/Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low Grade Fever

Symptoms usually come on gradually, typically last 7-10 days but can have a cough that lasts upwards of 3 weeks.

So all of these symptoms are miserable but when is it that you need to come see me for it? Let’s start with adults first:

You should seek medical attention if you have:

  • Persistent fevers over 101 or fevers lasting over 5 days or a fever that returns after being free of symptoms for a while.
  • Also if you are having shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Severe sore throat
  • Headaches or sinus pain that isn’t relieved by your typical treatments.

If you are having these symptoms most of them can be taken care of in your local doctors office or urgent care. So unless you have severe life threatening symptoms I’d talk to your doctor before making a trip to the ER.

So how about your children, when should you take them in? – in general, your child doesn’t need to see the doctor for a common cold. You should go see your doctor if they are having:

  • Persistent fevers,
  • Severe ear pain,
  • Excessive fussiness • symptoms that are worsening or failing to improve.
  • For more significant symptoms like fever over 100.4 in an infant less that two months, wheezing, difficulty breathing, unusual drowsiness or unable to keep in fluids you should seek care more urgently

Now, I’m not going to give any specific advice about where you should go if you feel you or your child need to be seen, but in general, most cold symptoms that have persisted can be seen in your doctor’s office or local urgent care and typically don’t need emergency care. Certainly consult your doctor on the most appropriate place for you to be seen.

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This post was written by Saltzer Health