Should I Go to Urgent Care for a Cold?

Aug 9, 2023 | Illness & Infections

We’ve all been there. When you’re struck by a cold, it’s natural to wonder if you should seek medical assistance or simply ride it out at home.

While most common colds resolve on their own with rest and home remedies, it’s important to recognize the signs that warrant a visit to a medical professional.

Need a refresher? Common signs of the common cold may include, but are not limited to:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mild headache
  • Fatigue

The tricky part is that in today’s world – these broad symptoms are shared by several other ailments. Cold symptoms can sometimes overlap with those of allergies and even COVID-19. Runny nose, congestion, and sneezing are common in all three cases.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between COVID and a common cold is the former’s association with a sudden loss of taste and smell, while a common cold typically manifests with a stuffy or runny nose. And while COVID is more likely to produce severe flu-like symptoms, colds tend to appear gradually and are accompanied by a general feeling of malaise. In most cases, over-the-counter medications, rest, and staying hydrated can help manage this temporary misery. Still, when in doubt – it’s always better to be checked out.

Additionally, certain red flags indicate the need for medical evaluation. If you experience any of the following with cold symptoms, you should consider heading to your nearest urgent care.

  1. High fever: A persistent fever above 100.4°F (38°C) could be a sign of a more serious infection, such as the flu or a secondary bacterial infection.
  2. Severe worsening symptoms: If your symptoms worsen over time, become increasingly severe, or last longer than 10 days, talk to a doctor.
  3. Difficulty breathing or chest pain: Listen to your body. If you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, or a persistent cough that interferes with breathing, it could indicate a respiratory complication that requires medical evaluation.
  4. A compromised immune system: If you already have a weakened immune system due to a chronic condition or ongoing medical treatment, consult a healthcare professional. Colds can be more severe in these cases.

It’s important to remember, everyone’s health is unique, and what may be a minor cold for one person could present differently in another. Trust your instincts and make an appointment with a medical professional if you’re unsure.

Should you go to urgent care for a cold? If you’re experiencing any of the red flags mentioned above or simply want peace of mind, reaching out to Quality First Urgent Care is a wise choice. Our experienced medical team is ready to provide you with the care you need. Schedule an appointment online, or simply drop by if you’re feeling under the weather.

The good news is that most colds can be managed at home. However, there are instances where seeking medical attention is necessary. Pay attention to the common signs of a cold, and if you notice anything unusual, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice and care.