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When to See a Doctor for Congestion


Updated July 05, 2014

When to See a Doctor for Congestion

Should you be concerned about congestion?

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People get congested for a variety of reasons. Allergies, the common cold, the flu, sinus infections and other upper respiratory infections can all leave us stuffed up and feeling pretty miserable.

But how do you know when the congestion has gotten so bad that you need to see your health care provider? Usually, congestion is something that can be treated with over the counter medications called decongestants, flushed out with a neti pot or saline spray or it will go away on it's own with time. But occasionally the congestion gets so bad that those methods don't work and your best course of action is to see a doctor to be diagnosed and treated.

You should contact your doctor if you have congestion and any of the following symptoms:

  • When accompanied by sore throat, aches, chills and runny nose
  • When congestion persists for more than two weeks despite over the counter treatment
  • When accompanied by pain or swelling around the eyes
  • When accompanied by a significant headache or severe pain in the face and forehead
  • When you are also experiencing a dry cough or discharge from the nose

Any time you are concerned about your congestion, you should consult your doctor. While a visit to the office might not be necessary, discussing your symptoms with your doctor or nurse can put your mind at ease about your symptoms and help you determine the best treatment for you.


"Cold and Flu Symptoms" Familydoctor.org Nov 2010. American Academy of Family Physicians. 30 Jul 12.

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