Since most common colds get cured on their own in the course of a week or two, a visit to the doctor is rarely required. The characteristic symptoms of a cold discussed above – a stuffy, runny nose, sneezing and a scratchy throat – make it easy to identify a common cold.
However, if your symptoms have worsened over the week and have become severe, it could be a sign that the cold has developed into a serious disorder and requires immediate medical attention. Your doctor will initially take your medical history to assess the characteristics of your symptoms and will also examine your sinuses, throat and ears to further check for symptoms of a cold. Besides taking your history and conducting a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms, your doctor may request a blood test or even an X-ray, especially if your symptoms show difficulty in breathing or signs of high fever. A throat culture may also be taken as a swab of your throat to check if any bacterial infection is causing throat irritation.
After complete diagnosis, your doctor at the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat or Heart, Lungs and Vascular Service Line of The Aga Khan University Hospital will recommend treatment options to help you get rid of the uncomfortable symptoms of the common cold.