Is it a cold, or something else?
Its easy to diagnose yourself with a cold when youre feeling unwell. But a cold isnt always just a cold. Its important to be able to tell the difference between the common cold and something more serious so you can get the medical attention you need.
If you think you have "just a cold" but are concerned it could be something more, its best to err on the safe side and visit your doctor. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition such as asthma, severe allergies, diabetes, kidney disease, HIV, or an autoimmune disease. The same goes for pregnant women and anyone under age six or over 65the common cold affects these groups of people differently and can be more serious than it is for healthy individuals.
We spoke to doctors to find out what symptoms tip them off that its more than a cold. Here, the red flags they look for.
Youve had symptoms for longer than four days
The common cold tends to clear up on its own in three to four days, says Melisa Lai Becker, MD, site chief of emergency medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance. It ...