Most of the time a drippy nose is just a drippy nose. When you get a cough to go with it, often it’s just a normal cold. However, there’s always a chance that your symptoms are an indicator of something else. Other times, they can be the doorway for more serious diseases to take hold. Sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and even COVID-19 can all start as a mere case of sniffles. Knowing how to tell when it’s time to see your doctor isn’t always easy. Thankfully, we have some tips to help you know.
Three Ways To Know If Your Cold May Be Something More
There are a few relatively clear signs that your doctor needs to be your next visit. Among them is a fever that accompanies your other symptoms. Colds often come with sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and post-nasal drip. What isn’t as common is an elevated temperature, except in children. Other diseases such as pneumonia, the flu, and the like are more likely to be responsible in this case. Other signs that you may have more than a common cold include:
- Sudden Onset: One common sign that you may have bigger concerns is if the symptoms come on suddenly. Colds usually have a gradual onset, and come with feelings of fatigue. The next day you’ll wake up with a runny nose or a sore throat. Over the next several days those symptoms will worsen and new ones will develop. Diseases like the flu can happen rapidly, often in just a few hours. If you got hit with symptoms suddenly, it’s time to call your doctor.
- Lasting Symptoms: Colds are annoying, and their symptoms are frustrating. What colds are not is enduring. If you’ve been suffering from symptoms for more than a couple of weeks, your doctor needs to see you. Even if your symptoms have changed if you haven’t had a break since the onset you probably have something worse than a cold.
These are the biggest signs that your physician needs to see you. One thing to keep in mind, however. The COVID-19 virus is an exception to tip #1. The common symptoms of this condition tend to come on slowly over time. In addition, they often seem to mimic other respiratory illnesses, but continue to get worse over time. If you’re concerned you may have COVID, keep an eye out for symptoms like these that persist:
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
- Chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of ability to speak
- Movement difficulty
If these symptoms appear and you’ve already been vaccinated, it’s still time to see your physician. While the vaccines have been continuing to be incredibly effective, they’re not 100% guaranteed. This is why it’s essential that continue wearing masks and social distancing, even once we’re vaccinated.
Speak To Your Physician To Learn More
Now that you’ve got a quick guide, don’t hesitate. If you have a possible reason to suspect that your cold may be something more, call your physician. They’ll be able to do additional testing to make a final diagnosis. The sooner you start getting the right treatment, the sooner you’ll be feeling better!