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When to Call a Doctor About a Cold?

The common cold is a respiratory infection that can be caused by more than 200 viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is common to experience a sore throat, runny or congested nose, sneezing, coughing and a mild fever with a cold. Colds usually come and go without causing any serious harm, but secondary infections sometimes develop. You should always watch for signs of complications that may warrant a call to the doctor.

    When to Call the Doctor for an Adult

  1. Check your temperature regularly when you have a cold, and call your doctor if it rises above 102 degrees F, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are experiencing fatigue and achiness along with a high fever, you should contact your doctor. Call your doctor if you have fever along with sweating, chills and colored phlegm. If you notice severely swollen glands or if you are having severe sinus pain, contact your doctor. Note the length of your symptoms, and schedule an appointment with your doctor if your cold lasts longer than 10 days, according to the CDC.
  2. When to Call the Doctor for a Child

  3. Colds are usually worse for children than adults, and children are more likely to experience complications. Check your child's temperature frequently, and contact the doctor if it is higher than 103 degrees F, according to the Mayo Clinic. Call your child's doctor if he shows signs of chills and sweating, excessive sleepiness or breathing problems. Persistent coughing, excessive crying, ear pain, severe headaches, stomach pain and vomiting are other reasons to contact a doctor when a child has a cold.
  4. When to Call the Doctor for a Baby

  5. Immediately contact your doctor if a baby under 3 months of age becomes ill or has a fever. Newborns are at high risk for complications from colds and other illnesses. Babies older than 3month may also need to see a doctor for a cold. Monitor your baby's urine output; if he is having fewer wet diapers than usual, you should call the doctor. Contact your baby's doctor if he has a fever greater than 102 degrees F for one day or greater than 101 degrees F for longer than three days, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you think your baby is experiencing ear pain or if he has red eyes or yellow eye discharge, call the doctor. Keep track of how long your baby has cold symptoms. Call the doctor if coughing lasts longer than one week or if green nasal discharge is present for more than two weeks. Do not hesitate to call your baby's doctor about any symptoms that concern you during a cold.
  6. Warning

  7. Seek immediate medical attention if your child appears blue around the mouth, coughs up blood, has trouble breathing, refuses liquids or coughs violently enough to cause vomiting or skin color changes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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