It’s winter outside and you’ve been coughing for the last few days while feeling feverish. It’s common sense that you would assume an odd cough is just a cold, especially considering the season. Unfortunately, sometimes a cough or feeling generally unwell can indicate something much more significant. Here are 10 signs that what you’re feeling is much more serious than a common cold.

More than 21 days

If your cough has been lasting for more than 3 weeks it’s something to be concerned about. It is common that coughs from colds can last 10 to 20 days, but more than that and a red flag should pop. That’s when it’s time to see a doctor and see exactly what’s going on. It’s possible that an x-ray will be ordered to see the status of your lungs.

Thinning up

Losing weight is sometimes what we strive for in modern society. But if you’ve had a recent illness and begin to lose a lot of weight unintentionally, while still eating sufficiently, then it’s cause for concern.

It could be a sign of other pathologies, like hyperthyroidism, malignancies, other bacterial infections or even HIV. Go get a check-up if you have any doubts.

Prolonged Headache

It is normal to suffer a mild headache while having a cold. Usually, there is pressure near your nose or forehead if there is also a sinus infection present. This can be quite discomforting and pose problems for sleeping and having a quiet, calm day. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like Tylenol will definitely help. But if your headache persists longer than a few days or is very, very strong something is not right. Try getting a consultation to see what is going on.

Heart Palpitations

People think that an occasional irregular heartbeat is nothing to be worried about. But if you’re sick and are also having arrhythmias, then it might mean something more serious. The irregular heartbeat can be a sign of more grave conditions like pulmonary embolisms, cardiopathic viruses or dehydration. Never hesitate to contact a qualified healthcare professional if you are experiencing arrhythmias.

Rebound Sickness

If you were just about recovered and suddenly your symptoms reappear shortly after, it can be a sign of a superinfection or secondary infection. If your immune system is weakened by a primary infection, like your initial cold, then other bacteria can take advantage of your lower immunity. These can be serious ailments like bronchitis, sinusitis or pneumonia. This would require immediate diagnosis and intervention by your GP.

Colored Mucus

If you are having a cold, it is quite common to have a thickened saliva or even off-whiteish color. But if there are funky colorations like green or yellow, or bloody, especially for longer than the first few days, it’s a sign that the white blood cells of your immune system, are trying hard to fight an ongoing infection. It’s time to see your general practitioner.


Coughing is a common symptom of a cold, however, if this is accompanied by an unexplained chest tightness or wheezing, it may indicate something more serious. You may be experiencing an asthma attack and you may start having trouble breathing. Also, wheezing can be a sign that you are developing pneumonia which is a quite serious infection of the lungs. These are not things to be taken lightly and you should seek medical guidance pronto.

Digestion Problems

It’s unusual to have digestion symptoms while fighting a cold. Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting could be a sign of something more serious like a flu virus. These ailments can cause rapid dehydration and would greatly put your well-being at risk. There is no need to have uncertainty regarding matters of health – if you are having persistent digestion problems seek medical attention ASAP.

Localized Pain

If you are having difficulties swallowing, or your head is really hurting, it can mean you are experiencing something other than just a common cold. These things can indicate strep throat, sinus infections or even an ear infection. Localized symptoms are not usually associated with colds. When in doubt go see a doctor to get things straight.

Itchy Eyes

If you’re tearing up or your eyes are itchy, it could be a sign of an allergy instead of a cold. If other symptoms are present too, like a rash, tongue swelling and lightheadedness then these are causes for concern as allergies can develop into a more severe state, which is called an anaphylactic shock. This is where your breathing passages become so inflamed that breathing can become very difficult. This condition can arise very rapidly and is life-threatening! Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing the above symptoms!