Chest congestion, cough, and weakness

Dear Ask The Doctor:  I got sick from my son, I thought it was allergy's but i haven't felt better. I can't stop coughing and when I do my chest hurts and my throat is numb. I have no energy and being that I am not carrying health insurance right now because of unemployment, I have no coverage and am trying to stay away from having to go to the doctors. I took a cough suppressant but if it's in my chest, I am worried. Any advice?
 

Dear Patient:  This a common question I am encountered with daily - when to see the doctor and when to stay home?
The majority of respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses which do not require antibiotics or treatment from a doctor.  They are best managed with plenty of fluids, plenty of rest (which may be hard to get if you have children), and plenty of sleep. I usually recommend observing symptoms for 48-72 hours and seeing the doctor if things are not improving after that time.
Persons who are very young, very old or suffer from a chronic medical condition should be seen sooner.
I hope this helps.
 

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