Mothers are celebrated (if sometimes vilified) for their eagerness to advise
their children on matters big and small: how to behave, what to wear, whom to
marry, when to have kids ... and, oh yes, how to stay healthy during cold and
Does science back up what Dr. Mom told you about the common cold? Or was she
full of hot air? Here's what real doctors have to say about 10 familiar
Your child is 3 months of age or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
You are finding it harder and harder
New pain develops or
pain localizes to one area, such as an ear, the throat, the chest, or the
Symptoms do not go away, even with home
Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
In most healthy people, the
flu will go away in 5 to 7 days, although fatigue can
last much longer. Although you may feel very sick, home treatment is usually
all that is needed. If it is flu season, you may just want to treat your
symptoms at home. Watch closely for
symptoms of a bacterial infection, such as nasal
drainage that changes from clear to colored after 5 to 7 days and symptoms that
return or get worse.
Early treatment (within 48 hours of your
first symptoms) with antiviral medicines may reduce the severity of influenza
and may prevent serious flu-related complications.1
Babies, older adults, and people who have chronic health problems are more
likely to have complications from the flu, and they may need to see a doctor
for care beyond home treatment. But not all antiviral medicines work against
all strains of the flu. Talk to your doctor if you think you may need an
Call your doctor if you think your symptoms
are caused by something other than the flu.
Who to see
These health professionals can diagnose and treat the