By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals
There's an old saying that a cold will last a week or seven days, whichever comes first. Let's face it, having a cold can be utterly miserable. Symptoms can include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, mild fever, and headache. But is it enough to warrant seeing a doctor?
Running a high fever is an important sign to see a doctor. Adults with a fever of 102 or higher, children with 103 F or higher, or newborns with 100 F or higher, should see a doctor.
Infants and children are more likely to run a fever and suffer cold-related complications that require doctor visits. Colds can also cause difficulties for the elderly, smokers, and people with chronic health problems like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or COPD.
You should also see the doctor when certain symptoms arise with your cold. If you have stabbing pains in the chest, are coughing up yellow or green phlegm, or have shortness of breath, you may have pneumonia or bronchitis and should see your doctor. Additionally, if you have a sore throat with fever and no cold symptoms, you may have strep throat, which is a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics, so a visit to your doctor is in order.
To learn more, watch the "Ask the Doc" video!