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Q&A: I've Had a Cold for Weeks!

How long does the common cold last and when should you see a doctor to ensure it's not a sinus infection?

By Megan Bingham and Taylor Chang

Q. I've had a cold for what seems like weeks. Should I see a doctor?

A. Yes. The typical cold lasts just seven to nine days, with people usually feeling the worst on days two to four, says Priya Wagle, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist in private practice in Linwood, New Jersey. "If you experience symptoms for a longer period of time, check with your doctor to be sure you don't have something more serious, like a sinus infection. A cold is a virus, so antibiotics won't help, but sinusitis can be bacterial and is treated with a prescription.

Originally published in the February 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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