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When do I need to see a doctor about a cold?

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WebMD Expert


In most situations, cold symptoms will be over within seven to 12 days.

If you have tried over-the-counter cold remedies without success, there are several prescription drugs available that may help with symptoms such as nasal stuffiness and cough.

If you have a sore throat with fever and no cold symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. This type of sore throat may be strep throat, which is a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.

If you have chest tightness, difficulty taking a breath, and/or wheezing, call your doctor. You may have a cold complication such as bronchitis. Or you might have asthma and a cold. In either case, your doctor may need to evaluate you to see if further treatment is necessary.

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