It has been a rough few weeks around my office. Every day, it seems like one of my colleagues is out sick with a bad cold or sore throat. So far, I've managed to avoid whatever this is, but it got me thinking about what symptoms should prompt a call to the doctor rather than just toughing it out with over-the-counter meds and rest.
Most experts say that it's a combination of duration of symptoms and the severity of the illness. Most of the time, lots of rest and maybe some chicken soup will do the trick. There's actual science behind that chicken soup thing, by the way. It really works!
But if you experience any of the following, call your doctor:
- A fever over 101 that lasts longer than a day or two
- Severe confusion or dizziness
- Ear pain
- Prolonged headache
- A cough that brings up thick green or rust-colored mucus
- Difficulty breathing
People with compromised immune system, diabetes or heart disease should also check with their health care providers if a cold or flu keeps them in bed. If you're not sure whether you should call, err or the conservative side and pick up the phone.