Coughs and colds are experienced by most adults two to four times per year and more frequently by children. It is not necessary for you to see a doctor if you are having symptoms of an uncomplicated viral infection in the respiratory tract (ears, nose and sinuses, throat and chest). On the other hand, your doctor should evaluate you if you are having symptoms that suggest a more serious cause, such as a bacterial infection, or if your symptoms aren't manageable with over-the-counter remedies or the passing of time. The purpose of this guide is to review your cough and cold symptoms and to identify specific patterns of illness for which a doctor's evaluation is recommended.
You will encounter a number of questions about your symptoms as you proceed through this program. Your answers to these questions will help give you suggestions most pertinent to you.