Preparing for your appointment

If you or your child has a cold and symptoms persist or worsen or are severe, make an appointment with your primary care provider or your child's pediatrician. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your or your child's symptoms and when they began
  • Key personal information, including major stresses and exposure to people who've been ill
  • Medications, vitamins or supplements you or your child takes
  • Questions to ask your doctor

For a common cold, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing these symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • Are tests needed?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • What treatments should be avoided?
  • How soon do you expect symptoms to improve?
  • Am I or my child contagious? When is it safe to return to school or work?
  • What self-care steps might help?
  • I or my child has these other health conditions. How can we manage them together?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

  • Have symptoms been continuous?
  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • Did symptoms improve and then worsen?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, worsens symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

While you're waiting for your appointment, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.

April 09, 2016
References
  1. Sexton DJ, et al. The common cold in adults: Diagnosis and clinical features. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  2. Sexton DJ, et al. The common cold in adults: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  3. Ask Mayo Expert. Upper respiratory tract infection. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  4. Common colds: Protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  5. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  6. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  7. Cough and cold medicine: Not for children. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/aap-press-room-media-center/Pages/Cough-and-Cold-Medicine-Not-for-Children.aspx. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  8. Get set for winter illness season. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm092805.htm. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  9. Common cold. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  10. Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/sore-throats. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.