How to Know When It Is Time to Go to the Doctor

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Doctors are there to help when you need them.
Doctors are there to help when you need them. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

No matter your age, gender, or conditions it can be difficult to know when it is time to go to the doctor. Colds and flus can be dangerous to people of all ages. Babies and elderly people may need to respond faster to health issues than healthy adults, but adults still need health care. Doctor visits cost money, and many people are uninsured or under-insured. Due to this, people sometimes put off doctor visits longer than they should, and this can be a risk to their health.

Determine your symptoms and conclude whether you have a cold or flu. Colds almost never cause fevers or headaches, and flus do. The common cold has no cure except rest, but flus can be fought with the use of antiviral drugs that your doctor may prescribe.

Wait 24 hours for conditions that do not cause you unmanageable pain to improve. Low fevers, vomiting and other flu or cold symptoms that are lessened by medicine are not emergencies.

Take your temperature regularly if you have a flu or signs of a fever. A temperature over 104 degrees is considered dangerously high for adults and you should immediately go to a doctor.

Test your breathing often if you have a chest cold or flu. If your breathing becomes restricted in any way, immediately go to the doctor.

Drink clear fluids and water to stay hydrated, especially if you have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or runny nose; these issues can cause dehydration. If you cannot keep liquids down, immediately go to the hospital.

Call a doctor if you are unsure if a doctor's visit is required; explain your symptoms and they can advise you of the best way to handle them.

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