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When Does My Cold Need Further Treatment?

A cold can lead to a secondary bacterial infection. If your cold doesn't clear up after one week to 10 days or you have any of the following symptoms, you need to return to M.S.Shook Student Health Service to be rechecked by a clinician:

  • Pain/tenderness around the eyes
  • Painful swelling of neck glands
  • Painful breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • Severe headache
  • Fever > 100.5° for longer than 2 days
  • White patches on the back of throat or tonsils
  • An extremely red throat
  • Chronic, unusual fatigue
  • Usual medications are not working
  • Sore throat symptoms have not improved in 2-3 days after a recent negative throat culture

Information from "Managing the Common Cold," The American College Health Association, 1998.

For more information: CDC Information on the Common Cold (opens in a new tab)

Page content reviewed: 06/04/2018 fwg