Are You Scared It's More Serious Than The Common Cold? Nine Signs That It Could Be

February 06, 2020

woman blowing nose
Emmanuel Feranmi

A runny nose, sneezing, coughing, congestion. . . all these are common symptoms of the common cold. You probably have heard about the common cold before, and you probably know that doctors haven't found a cure for the illness.

Yes, surgeons can actually do heart transplants, but modern medicine does not, as of today, have a cure for the common cold. But thankfully, the common cold isn't deadly. With chicken soup and a few days at home, you can get through most of it.

But there are illnesses way more fatal than the common cold. And these illnesses often have roughly the same symptoms as the common cold. But that is only for the first few weeks or days. Then they find a way to metamorphose into something way more sinister— something even deadly.

The world is scary enough, and deadly viruses disguising as something not so deadly is something that you absolutely do not need.

So if you are scared that your sickness is something more than the common cold, here are a few signs that you should be on the lookout for.

It Lasts Longer Than Four Days

One of the reasons why nobody thinks the common cold is deadly is that the symptoms usually disappear within three days or less. If you are well rested for three days, the most severe symptoms of the cold tend to disappear on their own.

However if your symptoms last more than four days, and doesn't decrease in severity, it is very likely that you're battling with something worse like mononucleosis or the flu. This is your cue to get up and make a doctor's appointment.

You Just Returned From A Trip

If you've just returned from another country, this could mean that your infection isn't quite as conventional as doctors would normally think. If your "cold" symptoms develop after a trip, it is important that you get yourself checked out. Delay may have more consequences than you're willing to take.

Stomach Issues Are A Red Flag

The common cold doesn't usually come with vomiting and diarrhea. If you have that, the chances that you're suffering from the common cold becomes quite slim. If these are symptoms that you are experiencing regularly, you need to see the doctor as it could lead to acute dehydration.

You Can't Breathe

Respiratory problems don't usually come with the common cold. While heavy coughing might take a toll on your chest, it is usually not very serious. If you can't breathe, are wheezing, or are experiencing chest pain, this is a sign that what you have may just be more serious than the common cold.

Breathing trouble can be a sign of something much worse like pneumonia or bronchitis. Chest pain could even signal something like a blood clot blockage in the lungs (which sounds every a bit as serious as it looks). If you're experiencing these symptoms, you should see the doctor quickly.

A Low-grade fever That Doesn't Seem To Want To Stop

If your body is battling a fever for four to five days in a row, that could be a sign that your body is fighting something more serious than the common cold. A consistent fever could be a sign of a serious infection, and you should visit a hospital to check yourself out.

Fever

Is it possible for a fever to be a symptom of a common cold? Yes, but it is not likely. If you have a fever higher than 37.8 Celsius, that is a sign that you should check yourself out.

Having a high fever can be a sign of Strep throat. And according to many doctors, it is important to differentiate strep throat from a common cold very early. This is because left untreated, strep throat can develop into something serious like rheumatic fever.

Your Body Aches

While a regular cold isn't a picnic in the sun, it isn't a walk in hell either. You shouldn't be having body aches, especially severe ones, if you're fighting the common cold.

However, serious illnesses like the flu can make your entire body ache in sometimes unimaginable ways. If your body ache is accompanied by fatigue and chills, then you probably should be seeing a doctor.

It Has A Pattern

If your symptoms arise after eating a particular kind of food or playing with a pet or something like that, then it is likely that you have allergies, not a cold. To know if this is true, you need to keep a history of your symptoms. If you notice that your symptoms follow a pattern, then it is likely not the regular cold.

Localization Of Symptoms

One last red flag that you should be wary of is when your symptoms appear to only affect one area of your body. The common cold affects the entire body, but illnesses like Strep and Sinus infections affect only one area of the body.

So if your symptoms are limited to only your throat or only your head area, then you should take precaution and arrange a doctor's appointment. 

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