IN THIS ARTICLE
When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for a Cold?
For mild-to-moderate cold symptoms, individuals usually do not need to see a doctor. Almost everything a doctor can prescribe to relieve symptoms can be purchased without a prescription.
However, if symptoms become severe or people develop the following symptoms or signs, the patient may have "the flu" virus, bacterial pneumonia, or another illness that should be reported to the doctor:
For more severe cold symptoms or a prolonged duration of symptoms and/or signs, people should visit their doctor. An office visit will usually suffice, but if the person is extremely ill and seems to be getting worse, go to the emergency department.
How Do Health-Care Professionals Diagnose a Cold?
Symptoms and a physical examination are all the doctor needs to diagnose the common cold. An initial diagnosis often is made from symptoms alone.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2016
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