When To Seek Medical Attention For a Cold

October 31, 2023

The common cold is an ailment that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. While colds are typically a mild and self-treating condition, there are instances when a cold can take a more serious turn that requires professional care. In this blog, we’ll discuss when it might be necessary to seek medical attention on a cold, as well as provide insights on how to differentiate between symptoms.

For same-day illness treatment, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Thornton. Our team of experienced medical providers specialize in treating an extensive range of acute conditions. You can simply walk-in any day of the week, or plan your visit in advance by reserving your spot online.

Common Cold: Causes and Symptoms

The common cold is a highly contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is caused by several types of viruses, with rhinoviruses being the most common causes. Colds are typically spread through close contact with an infected person. This can occur through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Common cold symptoms may include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

When To Seek Urgent Care For a Common Cold

Here are a few situations that could indicate medical attention is necessary:

1. Duration and Severity of Symptoms: In general, a common cold should resolve on its own within 7-10 days. If your symptoms persist beyond this timeframe or worsen, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with a more severe underlying infection. While the common cold may cause discomfort, it usually does not lead to high fever or respiratory distress.

2. High Fever: Fever is a common symptom of many illnesses. Colds can sometimes cause a low-grade fever. If your fever spikes above 100 degrees fahrenheit, it’s a reason to be concerned. High fever can indicate an underlying infection that may require medical treatment.

3. Pre-Existing Health Conditions: Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system, should be more cautious when dealing with a cold. These conditions can make someone more susceptible to complications. If you have a pre-existing health condition and experience cold symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider.

4. Concerning Symptoms: As mentioned, a cold is generally mild and presents minor symptoms. If you experience a high fever, difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, ear pain or pressure, it’s best to seek medical attention. These symptoms could indicate another infection has developed that may require a professional medical evaluation.

Get Same-Day Cold Treatment at AFC Urgent Care Thornton

This cold and flu season, don’t leave your health up to chance. If you’re located near Thornton, Northglenn, Eastlake, Henderson, Todd Creek or any surrounding community in Colorado, come visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Thornton. Most colds pass on their own, but it's important to get properly tested to ensure there aren’t other infections at play. The clinic is open seven days a week, and walk-in visits are always welcomed. If you have any additional questions about common cold symptoms and treatment, or other urgent care services we provide, please call us directly at (720) 751-2910.

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