This is a good question. It is important that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor
to have a full history and physical to determine if your symptoms are more than a typical cold. A common cold is characterized by runny nose, congestion, fatigue, sore throat, low grade fever, cough, body aches, and sneezing. It is caused by a virus and usually lasts about a week. Wheezing is usually a sign that there might be more going on than just a cold, such as bronchitis, unless you have a history of asthma. Bronchitis is usually treated with an inhaler and cough medicine, and sometimes antibiotics if severe. If you have a fever in addition to your symptoms it is possible that you are suffering from pneumonia which usually requires antibiotics to improve. Depending on what your doctor discovers during your exam, he or she may order a breathing test (pulmonary function testing
) or a chest x-ray
. Again, it is very important to make an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. A common cold will resolve with time but pneumonia or bronchitis if not treated can make you very sick and you could need hospitalization.