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6 Signs Your Cold Is More Serious Than You Think

Your throat is on fire

It’s normal to have an itchy, scratchy throat when you have a cold, but if you have a higher fever with swollen lymph nodes and severe soreness in your throat that comes on quickly, it may be a streptococcus, notes Dr. Miranda. ‘Your doctor has to do a swab test to identify streptococcus,’ she says. Because strep is caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the test is positive.

 

Suddenly, one ear is in pain

Picture this: You assumed you had a cold. (You were right!) And you started to get better, but you started to feel a throbbing pain in your ear—and it’s hard to hear, too. Your cold could have morphed into an ear infection. ‘We have all this extra mucus and phlegm in our ears, throat, and lungs, making for a great place for bacteria to jump in and set up camp, causing a secondary infection, like an ear infection,’ says Dr. Massart.

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