How To Know It’s Not The Common Cold

Cold and Flu Season

There are many reasons that our noses may be runny. Most of them are nothing to worry about and will quickly pass on their own. When you develop a cough with your running nose, then you have a bit more to worry about. Mostly it will wind up being nothing worse than a common cold. Other times it’s an indicator of something more worrying, but how do you tell? Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections can all start as nothing more than a runny nose. Even COVID-19 starts off as if it’s nothing to worry about. So when is it time to see your doctor?

How To Know If That Cold Isn’t So Common

Thankfully these more worrying conditions have additional symptoms you can watch for. A prime indicator that you need to see your doctor is the appearance of a fever. Post-nasal drip, stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throats, and even headaches can all occur with a cold. Fevers are almost always an indicator of something more concerning. Children can have a common cold with a fever, but in adults, this is much rarer. This is just one sign that your cold may be something to worry about. Two other common indicators are:

  • Sudden Onset: Colds generally take time to develop and worsen. It usually starts with a runny nose and turns into a sore throat. Other diseases tend to come on suddenly. You’ll go to sleep one night feeling fine and wake up feeling awful. These symptoms can develop over the space of a few hours. If this happens, it’s time to see your doctor.
  • Lasting Symptoms: Colds can have frustrating symptoms, but they tend to be short-lived. After just a couple of weeks, most colds have run their course. If your symptoms continue to drag on, it’s time to see your physician. Even if there have been new symptoms develop and old ones leave, speak to your doctor.

These are evident signs that it’s time to visit your medical professional. There is at least one exception to the first point. COVID-19 has been known to develop over time gradually. They will mimic the symptoms of other respiratory concerns but worsen over time. You can watch for these other indicators to determine if you may have COVID:

  • Dry Cough
  • Chest Pressure
  • Chest Pain
  • Loss of Speech
  • Fever
  • Difficulty Moving
  • Shortness of Breath

Even if you’ve already been vaccinated, it’s important to see your health care provider if you have these symptoms. While the effectiveness of vaccines is quite high, they are not a 100% shield against the disease. Social distancing and wearing masks continue to be important steps in protecting your health.

Communicate With Your Physician To Learn More

Don’t procrastinate reaching out to your provider. The faster you act, the sooner you’ll be able to get effective treatment for your condition. If it’s just the common cold, there’ll be nothing to worry about. If it’s something more serious, you’ll be able to start treatment. Speak to your physician today!


More From Our Blog

Linda Clark, NP

If you're in need of care, contact us today.