Health Library 2015-10-09 Quick Dose: When Are Cold or Flu Symptoms Cause for Concern? Main Article Content Breadcrumb navigation All/Health Library/Quick Dose: When Are Cold or Flu Symptoms Cause for Concern? While the cold and flu season can be unpredictable, the common cold and mild cases of the flu usually last about two weeks. You may find temporary relief with over-the-counter medications and by drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and staying home to rest. However, if your symptoms are getting worse instead of better, this may be a sign of something more serious. If you have persistent vomiting, a cough that lasts more than 10 days, a cough that produces thick greenish-yellow phlegm, chest pain, shortness of breath or a prolonged fever over 102 degrees in adults (103 or higher in children), it’s time to call your physician. The flu can turn into a more serious condition such as pneumonia, bronchitis or an ear infection – especially in babies, older adults and people with chronic health conditions – so take these signs seriously and seek professional advice. David Fox, MD, primary care physician, Northwestern Medicine Primary and Specialty Care Lavin Share This Page Related Topics Quick Dose Treatment Because what makes us better, makes you better. Learn More. Northwestern Medicine. Related Content Health Library Quick Dose: Why Do Men Schedule Vasectomies in March? Find out why men like March vasectomies with the fast answer from Northwestern Medicine urologist, Nelson Bennett, MD. Daily Health Quick Dose: How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? Find out how much vitamin D is healthy with the fast answer from Northwestern Medicine nurse practitioner, Marjorie Delaney. Health Library Quick Dose: When is a Sore Throat a Sign of Something Serious? Find out if your throat is just sore or if it’s a sign of something more with the fast answer from a Northwestern Medicine primary care physician. Health Library Quick Dose: Is Last Year’s Cough Medicine Still Good? Find out when coughs and congestion call for a trip to your physician with the fast answer from a Northwestern Medicine primary care physician. Health Library Quick Dose: Are You Vitamin D Deficient? Find out how much vitamin D is healthy with the fast answer from Northwestern Medicine nurse practitioner, Marjorie Delaney.