Colds are no fun, but they are especially unpleasant when they stick around for weeks or months at a time. Sometimes it just means you need to rest up to get better. Other times, you might need medicine to get rid of a chest cold that’s been sticking around.
Lots of doctors will give you antibiotics to take care of a chest cold, but that does not necessarily mean those meds will help you get better. Unfortunately, antibiotics have not been shown to improve a chest cold faster than not taking anything. On average, a person has a cough for nine days before they go to the doctor, but a cough can take another two to three weeks to go away fully. However, you should see a doctor if you have a cough that lasts more than two weeks and is not getting better.
You can speed a chest cold on its way out by resting up and drinking lots of fluids. People with compromised immune systems, smokers, the elderly, and children often have symptoms that last longer or are more susceptible to getting colds in the first place. Normally, this kind of illness is not accompanied by a fever, so if you do have a fever, that’s a sign it might be something more serious. In that case, you really should see a doctor.
Pneumonia can look like a chest cold, but have different symptoms. If you have a fever, feel shortness of breath, breathe faster than normal, cough up bloody phlegm, or feel super weak and tired, you may have pneumonia. Only a doctor will be able to tell you this for certain.
Another possibility is that it may be allergies. If your symptoms seem to stick around during the spring months, you may have an allergy to pollen or mold. Allergies can happen year-round though and are worth getting checked out by a doc.
Another illness that has similar symptoms to a chest cold is sinusitis. This happens when your sinus tissues become inflamed. This illness and other infections can even be caused by the common cold. If you have a lot of mucus discharge, nasal pressure, and cough, it may be sinusitis, but only your doctor can know for sure. Chronic sinusitis can last more than 8 weeks, too.
Asthma also could be another sickness that shows up like a chest cold. Asthma is a chronic illness where the person’s lungs swell and make it difficult to breathe. It can cause you to become more congested as well. The good news is that asthma inhalers can take care of this swelling and make you feel a whole lot better.
If you’ve been battling a chest cold for a long time, it may be time to check in with your doctor and look at other possibilities. Your doctor will want to see you if you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one so don’t hesitate! Just think about how happy you’ll be when you’re feeling better again.