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  • Feb 13, 2017

Is that pesky cough allergies or the common cold?

A cold is not always just a simple sickness and sometimes it can be very difficult to spot the difference between a cough, or sore and itchy throat and something a bit more serious.

Melisa Lai Becker, MD, site chief of emergency medicine at CHA Everett Hospital, recently chatted with, a leading online consumer health site, and offered insight on how to decipher the differences between a cough and the common cold.

A cold usually lasts three to four days and if it persists any longer you should make an appointment with your primary care physician to be safe. When symptoms start to impact a specific area it’s usually not just a common cold. For example, Dr. Lai Becker explains that strep causes a sore throat so painful it’s hard to swallow, but won’t cause pain in other areas in the body. Sinus infections can lead to headaches and sometimes make your teeth hurt, an ear infection can cause pain and congestion in one ear and mono can cause swollen tonsils.

In order to really get to the bottom of your illness, keeping track of your symptom history is key. Spotting trends, like when a cough is caused by going outside, which points towards an allergic reaction, can help to see if it’s a cold or something different. Click here to read more tips from Dr. Lai Becker.

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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