Understanding Medical Problems

When It Is More Than Just A Cold: Signs You Should Go To The Doctor

During the cold and flu season, it can be easy to assume that any symptom or illness you come down with is because of the common cold. After all, this is the most easily transmitted infection throughout the fall and winter months and is also the least serious or dangerous. Most people do not want to take time out of their lives for being sick, which is understandable. But there are those times when your illness is more than just a cold. Get to know some of the signs that you should go to the doctor so you can be sure you are doing what is best for your health and well-being. 

You Have a Severe Sore Throat

Your throat can get irritated and scratchy with the common cold. However, you should not have such as severe sore throat that it is difficult to swallow or that the pain is excruciating. If this is the case, you likely have a more serious infection or illness going on. 

A severe sore throat and difficulty swallowing can be symptoms of the flu, or even more likely of strep throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection and requires antibiotic treatment to avoid serious complications. The sooner it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. So, you should go to the doctor as soon as you notice a severely sore throat or difficulty swallowing. 

Your Lymph Nodes Are Swollen

There are two lymph nodes on either side of your neck, just below the line of your jaw. Normally you cannot see or feel them easily if you touch your neck. However, when you are sick, you might notice that they are swollen and that you have small lumps protruding from your neck. 

If you notice this symptom, you should go to the doctor as soon as possible. Swollen lymph nodes can accompany a cold but are often indicative of a more serious infection, particularly if they accompany other symptoms like a severely sore throat or high fever. Additionally, you can sometimes have swollen lymph nodes with no other symptoms which may indicate a different type of illness such as cancer or an internal infection of the lymph system. 

Your Symptoms Last a Long Time

While it can feel like the common cold can last a lifetime, the reality is that the bulk of the symptoms should only last about four to five days. After this point, the symptoms should start to subside and you will start to feel better over the course of a few more days. 

However, if your symptoms remain the same or get worse after four to five days, you should head to the doctor. This is likely not the common cold and could be a different type of infection that requires prescription medications, hospitalization, or other treatments to be managed and overcome. 

Knowing these signs that you are suffering from something more serious than a cold, you can be sure that you head to the doctor as quickly as possible if you notice these issues with your health. Contact a clinic, like Choice Medical Group, for more help.