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What are common cold symptoms?

October 25, 2022

Full disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Should you be in a sticky situation, you should always seek out advice from a legal professional.


Not sure if you’ve got the flu or the common cold? We’re here to help.

Unlike stomach flu-type viruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting, or influenza (flu) which can be soul-crushing, the common cold is usually pretty harmless – although it doesn’t necessarily always feel that way.

Usually you get better on your own when you have the cold. As a matter of fact, healthy adults usually get a cold two or three times a year. With enough rest, symptoms should disappear within 10 days, often sooner.

People who smoke or have other underlying conditions may see symptoms last longer. If symptoms don’t improve and you’re relatively healthy, you may have another condition or illness and should seek out a doctor.

Are my symptoms the common cold?

Symptoms of a common cold usually show up one to three days after exposure to the virus that causes it. Signs and symptoms often vary, but might include:

  • Runny / stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Slight body aches or a mild headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Generally feeling unwell or tired

Nose discharge may start out clear but become thicker and yellow or green as a common cold runs its course. This doesn't usually mean you have a bacterial infection.

When should I see a doctor in-person?

For adults — generally, you don't need medical attention for a common cold. However, seek medical attention if you have:

  • Symptoms that worsen or fail to improve
  • Fever greater than 101.3 F (38.5 C) lasting more than three days
  • Fever returning after a fever-free period
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain

For children — usually, your child doesn't need to see his or her doctor for a common cold. But you should seek medical attention right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 F (38 C) in newborns up to 12 weeks
  • Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age
  • Difficulty breathing / wheezing
  • Ear pain
  • Extreme fussiness
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Lack of appetite

Can getting rest fix my cold?

It’s easy to request a sick day or two off from work when you have a cold with a Partner Doctor through MinuteHealth. Rest can often help with a cold to reduce the length and severity of it.

Being an Aussie owned & run company, MinuteHealth understands the importance of helping our fellow Aussies out in times of need.

We also understand what it’s like to be in the queue at a doctor’s office just to get a note to confirm things you already knew about your health, just so you can get paid on what should be your day off. Being able to get medical certificates online helps Australians get the rest they need when they need it so they can get back on their feet and back to contributing in no time.

If you need an online medical certificate, it’s a simple process to get one through MinuteHealth:

📱 Head here

📝 Fill in a short form — it asks for key details about your medical issue

👨‍⚕️ Consult with your own Partner Doctor — they’ll take the medical information you provide and review within 24-48 hours

📥 Get your medical certificate to your inbox — you’ll receive an SMS and an e-mail with your medical certificate ready to download

It’s important to note that the independent Partner Doctor will read your health notes and make an informed decision on whether to provide you with a medical certificate or not. The Health Practitioner does not work for us, and we’ve created MinuteHealth to facilitate a convenient, ongoing connection with them.