In healthy adults, medical attention should be sought if symptoms persist for more than 10 days without improvement, or if severe or unusual symptoms are present.
Symptoms to watch out for:
- Persistent nasal symptoms without improvement for more than 10 days.
- Fever of more than 39 degrees or nasal discharge that’s yellow or green for more than 3-4 days.
- Worsening symptoms: exacerbation of cough; new onset or recurrence of fever.
In children, medical attention should be sought immediately in the following cases:
- Infants younger than 3 months of age with a fever.
- Refusal to drink anything for a prolonged period.
- When the child is very irritable or lethargic.
- If there’s difficulty breathing, rapid breathing or the child seems to be working hard to breathe.
Consult your doctor if your child develops any of the following:
- Fever of more than 38.4 degrees for longer than 3 days.
- Nasal congestion that doesn’t improve or which worsens over 10-14 days.
- Red eyes or yellow discharge from the eyes.
- Symptoms of ear infection are present: pain, ear-pulling or fussiness.
Reviewed by Cape Town-based general practitioner, Dr Dalia Hack. March 2019.