Internist/Family Practice Physician

In most cases, the common cold won’t require a visit to the doctor. However, if your cold symptoms are interfering with your daily life or with sleep, if over-the-counter medications aren’t helping, or if symptoms are getting worse, make an appointment to see your primary healthcare provider.

If your physician determines that you have the common cold, he or she will most likely recommend cold medications as well as simple home treatments to help control your symptoms.

If you or your child has a cold, pay careful attention to symptoms that may signal a more severe infection or health condition. You should call your doctor or pediatrician to schedule an appointment immediately if:

Adults:

  • Symptoms do not improve or get worse after a week to ten days.
  • You have a fever of 102 or higher.
  • You have a fever accompanied by muscle aches and fatigue or sweating and chills.
  • You have severely swollen lymph nodes, ear pain or vomiting.

Children:

Call immediately if your child is under three months old and has a fever. Do not wait. Also call if:

  • Your child has a a high temperature – 99.5F or higher for a baby under three months, 101F for an infant three to six months, and 102F or higher for a child six months or older.
  • Symptoms last more than 10 days.
  • Your child has ear pain.
  • Your child is vomiting.
  • Your child has swollen lymph nodes.

Go to the emergency room if:

  • Your child has a fever of 103F or higher or the fever lasts for more than three days.
  • You or your child have difficulty breathing.

Pediatrician

A pediatrician is an internist who has completed up to four additional years of training specializing in caring for the health of children. A pediatrician will be able to diagnose and prescribe the appropriate treatment for a child suffering from the common cold. If there is another underlying health condition, he or she will be able to refer the child to the appropriate specialist.

Otolaryngologist

An otolaryngologist is a physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. An ENT specialist must complete five additional years of specialty training. Some ENT specialists opt for a subspecialty requiring even more extensive training  in a specific field including pediatric otolaryngology, rhinology (specializing in the nose), or laryngology (specializing in the throat).