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Common Cold or Something Worse?

By Sara Butler

If you've had one cold, you've had hundreds. Because they're so common, it's can be easy to dismiss symptoms you may have as just a cold when you're feeling ill. The problem is that what you think is a cold isn't always as simple as that. You need to know what to look for to help you understand if you do have a common cold or if it's something much more serious. Here's what you need to know and when to be concerned about your health and continued wellness.

Length of Symptoms

Colds tend to stick around for three to four days and then clear up. You may start out with a scratchy, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and then cough. A runny nose and cough can stick around for a bit, but most of the other symptoms you're experiencing should get better after about four days of hydration and rest.

If you have symptoms that stick around for longer, then it could be something more serious such as mono or the flu. That's why it's vital to be checked out by a medical professional if your symptoms are hanging on.

You Get Sick Again

If you were sick, recovered, then got sick again shortly after, then you may have a rebound illness. That could potentially mean something more serious is going on such as pneumonia, a sinus infection, or strep throat. Make sure to get checked out if you felt as if you were getting better and then the symptoms come back just as bad -- or worse.

You Just Got Back from Vacation

If you travel internationally and then feel ill close to your return, then it may be because you've got something serious going on. If you travel abroad and then experience symptoms, don't dismiss them as a common cold. They may be a less common infection that needs medical attention to help you get better.

You Have a Fever -- A High Fever

People who have a common cold often don't have a fever, so if you develop one and it's high, then you need medical attention. Any fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit may be a sign of something more serious such as strep throat. Be aware of any sudden spikes in your temperature and get help. Strep throat isn't something that can go away on its own and untreated strep can lead to infections that damage your heart.

If you have any concerning symptoms, don't brush them off. See a medical professional for a proper diagnosis so you can get back on the road to recovery. 

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

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