Aside from a stuffy nose and some general muscle aches, a cold or the flu shouldn't make you short of breath or cause pain in your chest. These could be signs of a more serious problem such as heart disease, asthma, or pneumonia. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room.
Confused about swine flu? Even the name of this flu can be puzzling. Usually called swine flu, you'll also hear it called 2009 H1N1 flu and novel influenza A (H1N1). No wonder we're all a little baffled.
But swine flu isn't that hard to understand; it's a lot like seasonal flu. It has similar symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. As a matter of fact, it's hard to tell swine flu from seasonal flu without a lab test.
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A cough that won't go away is likely postnasal drip that can be treated with antihistamines. But it could also be related to asthma or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Your doctor can tell you about treatments that can help.
A lasting, severe cough is also the main symptom of whooping cough, which has become more common in many parts of the U.S. So, if you have an unexplained cough for more than 2-3 weeks, your doctor may test you for this type of infection.