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When to See a Doctor for Your Cough

By Genevieve Cunningham

We're in the thick of cold and flu season, which means people everywhere are suffering from stuffy noses, sore throats, and frustrating coughs. It's a tough time of year. For the most part, colds have to run their course and then pass on their own. But how do you know when your cold has turned into something more serious? How do you know when that cough, for example, needs a trip to the doctor? If you've been plagued by a cough that just won't quit, take a look at these signs that a trip to your doctor may be in order.

You're Running Fever

Fever means that your body is fighting something. It's not always a serious matter, but it's a sign that you've been plagued by some kind of illness. Most doctors recommend that children see the doctor if their fever is persistent for days or goes above 102 degrees. For adults, the magic number is 101 degrees. But anytime you're running a fever and feel that the doctor might be necessary, by all means, make an appointment.

Your Cough is Chronic

For children, a chronic cough is one that has persisted for four weeks or more. For adults, it's eight weeks or more. If you have a cough that has been lingering, it might be time to make sure it hasn't progressed into something worse. It takes time for a cough to go away, but anything that persists for long periods of time should be checked. Don't be afraid to seek out care to finally make your cough quit for good.

You're Cough is Productive

If your cough is productive -- which means you're coughing up fluid of some kind -- then you need to see a doctor. It could be a natural part of the process, or it could be a problem. This could signal an infection deep within the lungs. If you notice blood, get to the doctor immediately or visit the emergency department. This signals a serious problem that needs immediate care. 

If you ever have doubt, go to the doctor! A doctor is there to help, and if all you need is peace of mind, then go get it. If your cough is causing you to feel less than your best, go get care. If your cough is gradually getting worse, go get care. Illness is rampant at this time of year, so take care of yourself and keep yourself well until spring. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Charlotte, N.C.

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