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Tough it out or see a doctor? Nurse practitioner breaks down the symptoms

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MILWAUKEE -- If you're feeling under the weather should you just tough it out or see a doctor? Marilynn Klemstein, a nurse practitioner with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, joins FOX6 WakeUp to explain.

When To Tough it Out?


Call your doctor when:

  • You have a cough that doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks
  • You or your child is coughing up thick, green or yellow phlegm
  • You are also having: chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, night sweats, or coughing up blood
  • You also are running a fever of 101F or higher


Call your doctor when:

  • You or your child have a fever for more than a few days
  • You have a fever after a dental procedure
  • There is any fever (even as low as 100F) in a newborn child under 3 months old
  • Fever is over 104F
  • Fever is accompanied by shortness of breath, headache, stiff neck, rash, seizures, difficulty waking
  • You are worried, despite what the numbers are (trust your instincts)


Call your doctor when:

  • Over the counter antacid medications are not helping
  • Symptoms interfere with your daily activities
  • There is persistent difficulty with swallowing or choking
  • There is trouble breathing or chest pain
  • You have bloody, black, or tarry stool, or persistent abdominal pain
  • You have unexplained weight loss


Call your doctor when:

  • You have 3 or more headaches per week
  • You need pain reliever daily or almost every day
  • Headaches are triggered by exertion, coughing, bending, or strenuous activity
  • You notice a change in your chronic headache symptoms

You should seek immediate attention if you have:

  • A sudden, new, or severe headache
  • A headache associated with neurological symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, balance loss, numbness, paralysis, speech difficulties, confusion, or vision changes
  • A headache with a fever, shortness of breath, stiff neck, or rash
  • A headache that wakes you from sleep
  • A headache associated with severe nausea or vomiting
  • A new type of headache after age 55
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