When is it an emergency?
Although many parents rush their kids to the doctor at the first sign of sickness, adults generally are much less quick to schedule an appointment when their own health is in question. Here's how to tell whether your symptoms require professional attention:
The problem: A cold that won't go away When to get help: If your upper respiratory infection lasts more than 10 days and is accompanied by a fever (101 degrees F. or higher), see your doctor -- you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics, advises Arlene Brown, M.D., assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, in Albuquerque. Additional symptoms, such as a cough with green, brown or bloody sputum, could indicate bronchitis or pneumonia.
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