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Is It the Cold or Something Worse?

By Donna Stark

Diagnosing ourselves with the common cold when we aren't feeling our best has become easier and easier with all of the information that can be found on the internet. In fact, some of us even have apps on our phones in which we can type in the symptoms and a few minutes later, have that diagnosis in our hand. But no matter how convenient it is to do that, and no matter what your app is telling you, it's important to be able to tell the difference for yourself between the common cold and something worse.  

Know the Difference

On their own, colds are pretty harmless, but if you think your symptoms are leaning to something more serious, it's best to be seen by a doctor, especially if you are pregnant, over the age of 65, or have a pre-existing medical condition. Not sure what you are looking for? Here are some of the major red flags.

  • Your symptoms aren't going away - If you've had symptoms for longer than a week, you may be fighting something more than a cold. With a cold, you should begin to feel better after a couple days of rest, hydration, and nourishment.
  • Your symptoms include a high fever - Although it is possible to have a fever when fighting a cold, it's not very common, especially if it is a high one. Fevers over 101 degrees could be a sign of a more serious infection, such as strep throat.
  • You've been fighting a low-grade fever for several days - So your fever isn't a high one ... that's good to some degree ... but if you have been running a low-grade fever for several days in a row, it could be a sign your body is fighting off a bigger infection, such as the flu. It would be wise to have it checked out by a doctor.
  • You are sick to your stomach - Nausea and vomiting typically don't accompany colds, so symptoms like these could be a red flag for something more serious. It's important to seek help sooner than later because you can become dehydrated very quickly.
  • You're experiencing labored breathing - These symptoms should never be ignored because shortness of breath and wheezing could be signs for bronchitis or pneumonia. Seek medical attention as soon as you can to prevent your health from worsening.
  • You have body aches - Although you may feel like junk when fighting a cold, you usually don't experience all-over body aches and chills. Whereas, if you are fighting something more serious, like the flu, your muscles tend to feel achy, sore, and fatigued.  

Seek Help When Needed

Nobody likes to be sick and most everybody exaggerates how poorly they feel when they are, but if you do notice that your symptoms are getting worse, or that they aren't letting up, you should seek medical help as soon as you can. The end goal is to get your health back to where it was so that you can get back to your enjoying your life with your loved ones as soon as possible.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Woodbury, Minn.

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