Caring for a Cold

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 12/12 2013 09:43PM

Updated 12/12 2013 09:44PM

It's that time of year when the common cold starts making life tough. The experts estimate there are as many as one billion cases in America each year. Now, a look at how to spot the symptoms and when to seek medical help.

"The flu and the common cold both start with the respiratory congestion and coughing. The primary difference are that the flu can have a high fever up to 103, 102 and typically is accompanied by body aches." So Dr. Paula Hartzell says it's a good idea to boost your immune system to avoid getting sick in the first place. "Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of sleep which is a challenge during the holidays. Avoiding stress as best you can. But you want to keep your body as healthy as possible. getting exercise, getting fresh air as best you can. Getting plenty of clear fluids. All of those things can help boost your immune system."

It isn't always necessary to see a doctor if you do catch a cold - but Dr. Hartzell says there are some signs you shouldn't ignore. "When you should see a doctor is if you have any shortness of breath like chest congestion that's worsening especially high fever is an indiccation you should see a doctor as well. If you're getting dehydrated either because you don't drink plenty of fluids or because you have nausea or vomiting. All those are indications you need to see a doctor."

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