Have you ever noticed that when a character coughs ominously in a movie, they usually end up dead by the final credits? Hollywood seems convinced that catching a cough is an inevitable death sentence. But like many movie-made misconceptions, a cough is often the result of an annoying, but ultimately harmless, virus.
Still, there are certain symptoms that warrant a doctor's opinion. And even if you don't exhibit any of the following symptoms, it's never a bad idea to have a doctor listen to your cough. Especially when doctors are available on our system 24 hours a day.
But if your cough comes with any of the following five symptoms, you should definitely get in front of a doctor immediately.
Symptom #1: Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Call 911. Like chest pain, difficulty breathing is a serious red flag. You need care right away to open up your airway passages so you can begin breathing normally.
Symptom #2: Coughing up pink or bloody phlegm
Although not uncommon, coughing up pink or bloody phlegm could be a sign something more serious is going on. You should seek immediate medical care to get the right treatment for you.
Symptom #3: Coughing up yellow or green phlegm
Much like its pink-hued counterpart, yellow and green phlegm also warrants a doctor visit. You can see a doctor right away on Amwell or simply schedule an in-person with your doctor.
Symptom #4: Wheezing or shortness of breath
Sometimes coughs can be accompanied by asthma-like symptoms. If you find yourself wheezing or experiencing shortness of breath, you should definitely consult a doctor. At the very least, you could require an inhaler to get your breathing back on track.
Symptom #5: Experiencing a fever
While many minor viruses can give you a fever, you'll want to get checked out by a doctor to make sure it isn't caused by something more serious. After all, only a doctor can review your symptoms and medical history to accurately diagnose you.