Do not Ignore these Signs when you have a Cold
Sniffling and a runny nose are common enough in Europe. When the weather becomes cold and gives that heavy feeling, blowing the nose and a good long rest in bed are the first things we turn to. If coughing and clogged nasal airwaysinterrupt our daily lives, we turn to medicines, hot soups and water. Even quick home remedies inherited from parents and grandparents like vaporubs and yellow ginger are valuable options.
Self-medication is a money-saver and it usually kicks the common cold out after a few days. But there are times when self-medication is not enough. How do we know if our cold is actually something serious?
From common colds to flu
The common cold is a mild viral respiratory illness. People with common colds usually have nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and headache. Some colds are coupled with mild fever, which becomes more common among kids. It’s safer for kids to be seen by the doctor at the onset of a cold as they could have a lower resistance to the virus. But for adults, the symptoms of the common cold will weaken with bed rest after one to two weeks.
Here are some signs you should look out for to tell if your cold is serious:
- Fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher for adults; 103 F (39.5 C) or higher for children
- Coughing up thick brownish sputum
- Very bad headaches
- Unusual earaches
Some people may experience common colds longer because of lifestyle or other health concerns. But when the symptoms of cold last longer than 14 days, then something more serious may be going on.
The flu or influenza is caused by another type of virus. Unlike the common cold, it can lead to pneumonia which can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of the flu are similar to the common cold, except patients may also experience muscle pains, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
When do you call the doctor?
It is best to call the doctor when the following symptoms appear alongside symptoms of colds:
- Persistent fever
- Painful swallowing
- Persistent coughing
- Persistent congestion and headaches
The persistence of these four symptoms can mean that a patient is infected by cold or flu-like ailments such as strep throat, bronchitis and allergies. These ailments cannot be treated by home medication only and require the opinion of a doctor. Often, emergency situations can also happen when the patient experiences extreme discomforts like severe chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, regressive conditions and others.
Health is wealth, as the saying goes. This means that we should not hesitate when our gut feel tells us that we need the help of a doctor to treat a cold. Granted, self-medication can work, but it pays not to be too lax or stubborn when the symptoms of severe cold persist.
What do you usually do when you or your family experiences colds? Share your home remedies here!