But there are times when you may need more than a box of tissues and your favorite spot on the couch. Sometimes colds and flus can lead to more serious illnesses like pneumonia. Or what you think is a cold or the flu is really something else, like allergies or a more serious infection. In these cases, it’s best to call your doctor. You may need medical care or a different type of treatment.
Symptoms to Watch For
Here’s a list of symptoms you shouldn’t ignore. Call your doctor if you have:
- Chest pain or pain in your stomach
- Cough that keeps you awake at night
- Fever of 100.5 degrees F or higher
- Fever that doesn’t go down within a few days or respond to fever-reducing medicine
- Severe sinus pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Swollen glands
- Vomiting that is severe or persistent
If You Don’t Feel Better
Another sign you may need medical care is if extra rest doesn’t seem to be working. Call your doctor if you:
- Start to feel a lot worse or don’t feel better after 2 weeks—a sign of a more serious infection
- Have symptoms that get better and then get worse again—again, a sign of a more serious infection
- Have a chronic disease, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, and have flu symptoms—if you have one of these conditions, you’re more likely to have complications from the flu
- Have cold symptoms that keep coming back—this may be a sign of allergies rather than a cold
Fortunately, most colds and flus get better on their own. But don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you’re worried about your symptoms or have any questions.
- Sometimes colds and flus can lead to illnesses like pneumonia. Or what you think is the flu is actually a more serious infection.
- Call your doctor if you have symptoms such as a fever that doesn’t go down, severe vomiting, or trouble breathing.
- Also call if you don’t feel better after 2 weeks, or if you have symptoms that improve, then worsen again.
© Copyright 2013 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.