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iVillage.com: What Works and What Doesn't: The Verdict on Cold Remedies

Should I Call My Doctor if I Get a Cold?

Fact: Most people really don’t need to call their healthcare provider when they’re suffering from a cold. But there are exceptions. Here are five red flags that do warrant a ring to your doctor:
1. The over-the-counter products you’ve bought to help you feel better aren’t soothing your symptoms. (You might need a more potent, doctor-approved prescription.)
2. You’re experiencing a severe sore throat along with fever. This symptom set can indicate strep throat, a bacterial infection that must be investigated and treated by a doctor.
3. You've had a painful earache for days. This could be secondary bacterial infection in your Eustachian tubes, connecting your ear to your throat.
4. You’re suffering from chest tightness and experiencing difficulty taking deep breaths, which can indicate bronchitis, a bacterial infection that requires prescription medication.
5. You have facial or tooth pain and greenish nasal discharge, all of which can be signs of a sinus infection.

My advice: Let the severity of your symptoms be your guide. A typical cold lasts five to 10 days, so if you’re experiencing any uncomfortable issues beyond this time, it’s time to consult your doctor.

(Credit: Tom Merton/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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