When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Call your health care provider if:

  • Your symptoms last more than 10 days.
  • You have a high fever.
  • What comes from your nose is yellow and green. Your face hurts or you have fever. This may be a sign of a bacterial infection.
  • What comes out of your nose is bloody. Or your nose keeps running after a head injury.

Call your child's doctor if:

  • Your child is younger than 2 months and is running a fever.
  • Your baby's runny nose or congestion causes trouble nursing or makes breathing difficult.


Until you see your health care provider, try these simple steps to relieve symptoms:

  • Avoid anything you know you're allergic to.
  • Try an allergy medicine you can get without a prescription. If you're also sneezing and your eyes are itching or watering, you might have allergies. Be sure to follow the label instructions exactly.
  • For babies, put several saline drops into one nostril. Then gently suction that nostril with a soft rubber-bulb syringe.

To relieve saliva that builds up at the back of the throat, also known as postnasal drip, try these measures:

  • Avoid common irritants such as cigarette smoke and sudden humidity changes
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use nasal saline sprays or rinses.

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April 07, 2023

See also

  1. Alcohol intolerance
  2. Allergies
  3. Allergy medications: Know your options
  4. Allergy-proof your home
  5. Alpha-gal syndrome
  6. Aspergillosis
  7. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  8. Bronchiolitis
  9. Can chicken soup cure a cold?
  10. Chicken soup: Can it treat a cold?
  11. Chronic cough
  12. Chronic daily headaches
  13. Cluster headache
  14. Cold and flu viruses: How long can they live outside the body?
  15. Cold or allergy: Which is it?
  16. Cold remedies
  17. Cold symptoms: Does drinking milk increase phlegm?
  18. Common cold
  19. Common cold in babies
  20. Does zinc work for colds?
  21. Dust mite allergy
  22. Flu shots
  23. Flu: When to see a doctor?
  24. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  25. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  26. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  27. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  28. Headaches 101: Know your type
  29. Headaches and hormones
  30. Headaches in children
  31. Headaches: Treatment depends on your diagnosis and symptoms
  32. High-dose flu vaccines: How are they different from other flu vaccines?
  33. Humidifier care 101
  34. Humidifiers
  35. Influenza (flu)
  36. Measles
  37. Measles vaccine: Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?
  38. Milk allergy
  39. MRSA infection
  40. MRSA prevention
  41. Nasal Cleaning
  42. Nasal polyps
  43. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  44. Nighttime headaches: Relief
  45. Nonallergic rhinitis
  46. Pain Management
  47. Peanut allergy
  48. Pet allergy
  49. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  50. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  51. Roseola
  52. Rubella
  53. Stress and headaches: Stop the cycle
  54. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  55. Swollen lymph nodes
  56. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  57. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  58. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  59. Whooping cough
  60. Whooping cough
  61. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?