Common Reasons for Being Sick and When to See a Doctor

There are many reasons as to why you could be experiencing illness on a regular basis. You may have a weakened immune system, may have picked up a common cold, flu, or even food poisoning. Depending on the time of the year the common cold and flu can spread like wildfire throughout your community and when there are multiple strands it can continue for months on end. These nasty viruses have the ability to impact your work, social life, and ability to exercise regularly. The good news is that you can learn about when it is necessary to see a doctor for these illnesses and when you can rely on remedies to ease your symptoms at home. Let's start with the most common illnesses and when you should see a doctor about them.

When to see a doctor for a cold

A sore throat, coughing, and sneezing are all normal symptoms of the common cold. However, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • You are having trouble with breathing or pain in your chest
  • You have a fever that isn't going away
  • You experience pain while swallowing
  • You can't kick the cough
  • You have smelly or discolored mucus
  • Your headache or congestion won't go away

All of these symptoms could be signs of a sinus infection, allergies, or even pneumonia so it is best that if you are experiencing any of them that you make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

When to see a doctor for the flu

When you have the flu you are likely to feel lethargic and muscle soreness within your body. You may also experience vomiting, nausea, headaches, chills, and fever. It is best to seek medical attention when:

  • You can't keep any fluids down (may need to be given intravenously to avoid dehydration)
  • Your fever doesn't get better
  • It hurts to swallow
  • Shortness of breath
  • Your symptoms seem to get better but return again

When to see a doctor for food poisoning

Common symptoms of food poisoning are similar to that of the flu. The most important thing to watch out for when you have food poisoning is any sign of dehydration. If you can't keep fluids down or have dry mouth you need to call a doctor or go to the ER. Other signs that prompt immediate medical attention include the following:

  • Diarrhea that lasts for 2 days or longer (1 day for a child)
  • Severe gut pain
  • Stools that are black or have blood in them
  • Tingling in your arms
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion

Home remedies to help aid symptoms

If you have determined that medical attention isn't necessary, here are some remedies you can have on hand at home to help ease your symptoms. You may be surprised as you could already have them in your kitchen.

  • Chicken or vegetable soup
  • Ginger to ease throat soreness and stomach pains
  • Honey for sore throat
  • Garlic cloves fight illness in the body similar to that of prescribed medications
  • Echinacea and vitamin C to boost immunity
  • Hot pads to soothe cramps
  • Probiotics to fight against bad bacteria in the gut

If you find yourself getting sick frequently, you can make changes to your diet such as adding in multivitamins and eating whole foods to strengthen your immune system. Regular exercise will also promote detoxification of the body, ridding yourself of harmful bacteria and increasing your metabolism. Remember to stay hydrated, rest well, and seek medical attention when experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above.

The information in this article was not provided by a medical doctor and should not be used to replace the advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical doctor, certified personal trainer, therapist, dietitian, or nutritionist.

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented on are for general informational purposes only, the writer may not necessarily have medical or scientific training. This information is not reviewed by a physician. Some of these articles may contain information about treatments or the use of a pharmaceutical product that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment. Results on any service or treatment may vary from person-to-person.

This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.