When to Visit a Clinic? Coughs and colds

When to Visit a Clinic? Coughs and colds

Cold symptoms such as an annoying cough, a scratchy throat and a lot of sneezing are all quite common. Besides that, you can also expect a stuffy nose and some achy joints. However, if it goes beyond that, you may need to visit a clinic to get an assessment from a qualified doctor. What you thought was a cold might turn out to be something much worse. Here are a few tips that we at Bellaire ER think should cause you to consider going to the clinic.

What are the chances it is not a cold?

The common cold affects US adults about three times a year. Dangerous viruses such as the enterovirus D68, which received wide media coverage, only affect less than a 100 people in the one month there was a major outbreak. Interestingly, the common cold and this illness have similar symptoms. The flu and common cold also share similar symptoms.

The CDC estimates that about 5% to 20% of all Americans get the flu every year. However, unlike the common cold, there is a vaccine available for this illness. Another virus that can be airborne is Ebola. Thus far, there have been three confirmed cases of the virus in the US. However, the virus comes with additional symptoms such as heavy perspiration, vomiting, and unexplained bruising.

Thus, if you feel the onset of a common cold, there is a high chance that it is what you have. This is especially so considering its prevalence in comparison to illnesses such as Ebola and the D68. However, if you notice some of the below signs, it might be time for you to pay a visit to your local clinic. There is always the small risk of even a common cold getting worse, leading to the increased risk of contracting another infection.

When to Visit the Clinic

Deciding when to visit the clinic can be hard, especially in a non-emergency case. The best way to tell whether you are getting better is to stay hydrated and get enough rest. If your symptoms seem to get worse, despite doing these two things, it is probably time to visit the clinic. Here are the signs that your situation warrants a visit to the clinic.

Difficulty with Breathing

A cold should not make it almost impossible for you to take a breath. Chest congestion is quite common when you are having a cold. This is where you will feel as though your lungs are backed up with water. However, it should not cause you any excess difficulty in breathing. If it causes you anything more than some discomfort, you may not have a clod at all. If you have a child and you notice that they have so much difficulty breathing that it causes their skin to change color, you should visit the clinic. It is probably a sign that you have a lung infection.

You are part of an at-risk population

Some people usually have increased risk factors because of their lifestyles, their genetic makeup, or their age. For instance, a chain smoker who experiences a cold will already have a weakened immune system. Thus, what may seem like a cold at first may turn out to be troubling signs of a much worse infection.

Consequently, if you are a chain smoker and you experience such symptoms, it is always important to visit the clinic for an evaluation. Besides that, if you have a child or an older adult living in the house, a common cold may warrant a visit to the clinic.

You experience persistent vomiting

It is especially so if it happens to a child. If he or she has a common cold and keeps vomiting after every meal, a visit to the clinic is needed. This is also the case for an adult, not only is vomiting not a sign of a common cold, but it could also cause severe dehydration if left unchecked.

Child with Asthma or Severe allergies

If you have a child who has been diagnosed as having asthma or severe allergies, the signs of a common cold may not be a cold at all. In such a case, a visit to the clinic is warranted. An evaluation by a doctor at the clinic can help to rule out the chances that it is anything worse than a common cold.

The symptoms persist more than a few days

A common cold should never go beyond seven days. If it gets to the second week and the cold has not yet subsided, you definitely need to be evaluated by a professional. It might turn out to be a severe infection in the lungs, which could cause you to lose a lung if not treated early enough.


If you are unsure, whether you should go to the clinic or not, you should err on the side of cautiousness. Before visiting the clinic, you should call the doctor. That way, you can make an appointment and will not have to wait in line.