When is it a cold, or something more serious?

SUFFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s the cold and cough season. So, how do you know when you have a cold, or something more serious?

Kiari Williams is fighting off a number of symptoms.

“I have a runny nose, congestion, sore throat,” she says.

A visit to pulmonologist Dr. Michael Teiger at New England Integrative Health Associates, and over the counter meds are helping.

“I am improving day by day,” Kiari said.

So far, Dr. Teiger says his practice is seeing a mild cold/cough season.

“You see sporadic cases of upper respiratory infection and that’s defined as the nose, throat, the upper chest,” Teiger said.

A common cold can lead to the more difficult to treat bronchitis.

“Ordinary cold are the symptoms up here [pointing neck up],” says Dr. Teiger, “bronchitis is a cough, chest irritation, a harsh sensation. You’re really feeling sick.”

And recovering from bronchitis is slow. It can take up to two to three weeks, compared to a cold that could end in less than a week.

“Bronchitis,” he explains, “is an inflammation of the breathing tubes. Pneumonia is an inflammation. an ionfection of the air sacs. You don’t see Bronchitis on a chest x-ray but you see pneumonia on a chest x-ray.”

Dr. Teiger says pneumonia is even more intense with shortness of breath and a fever.

A cold, bronchitis and pneumonia can also include a lingering cough, which could require ‘prescription’ cough medicine.

“We can suppress the cough. The damage requires healing and the cough will be gone when the healing occurs,” says Dr. Teiger.

Antibiotics are not prescribed for a cold or bronchitis because both are viral infections.

Dr. Teiger says pneumonia is mostly bacterial which is treated with antibiotics.

When do you see a doctor? He says don’t let symptoms like high fever, significant pain, and shortness of breath, linger.

If you have any doubts, call your doctor.

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