sickMost people that are under the weather struggle with whether or not they should visit their doctor. The last thing anyone wants to hear, after sitting in the waiting room for a long time, is to get some R&R and take a round of over the counter cold meds. But, what are the red flags? What should you look out for?


If you are suffering from a fever higher than 102, your body is most likely experiencing a doctor worthy cold. However, a moderate fever actually helps your immune system kill bacteria and viruses. Do yourself a favor, take your temperature and don’t make an educated guess on how high your temp may be. It’s important that the doctor knows how long and high your temperate has been.

Ongoing Illness

Have you recently been sick, then recovered and got sick again? If so, these are signs of what many physicians refer to as a super infection. A super infection is a serious secondary infection that results when your immune system is weakened from a mild illness. There are many scenarios that come into play – your immune system could have got tired and another infection was able to infect your body or perhaps the normal flora in your body that protected you initially is a little thrown off. Either way, schedule a doctor visit if you’re experiencing an ongoing illness.

Major Headaches

A headache from time-to-time is completely normal and shouldn’t be something of concern. However, if you’re experiencing constant headaches it’s possible that you’re suffering from a disorder that is affecting your central nervous system. In most cases, a dose of acetaminophen will not cure a major headache – often, these headaches require a doctor’s attention.

Rundown Feeling

If you’re feeling achy, experiencing fatigue or have muscle aches – odds are you’re suffering from the flu. However, contrary to what many people believe, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help weaken and shorten the duration of the flu. In addition, antibiotics can prevent the onset of any other complications that stem from the flu.

Heart Palpitations

Heart concerns are nothing to take lightly. If you’re experiencing irregular heartbeat accompanied by sickness then you should call your physician immediately. Dehydration or a virus can attack the heart or its lining. Furthermore, a pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that enters the lungs which causes heart palpitations.

Difficulty Breathing

The symptom of chest congestion, during a cold, can cause difficulty breathing or wheezing. It’s important to visit your doctor because problems breathing can indicate a more serious infection. Also, if an asthmatic or allergy prone child has difficulty breathing it’s imperative to rule out other illnesses by going to the doctor.


Sometimes vomiting is completely normal and is a result of your body fighting off a cold or reacting to something you’ve eaten. However, if your child is not able to keep down fluids dehydration is a potential emergency. Monitor a little ones liquid intake and be sure that they’re symptoms do not coincide with dehydration red flags. It’s relatively important to be educated on what a cold is and isn’t. When we’re under the weather, a common cold can seem like the end of the world however it’s important to identify when it’s time to see a doctor.
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