When do you decide it's time to go to the doctor?

I’ve had a sore throat/sinus infection/cold for about a week now. I had been told that I could work from home if I was sick, but apparently I spent a little longer working from home than my team lead expected, and now he’s saying that he will want a note from the doctor if I am going to be working from home for more than two days due to illness.

I get this kind of illness two or three times a year, sometimes from allergies, and sometimes just because it’s going around. It usually takes me about a week to recover, where I usually take a day off sick; then come in because there’s too much work to do, or the PTB look at you funny if you take off for more than a couple of days.

But I never go to the doctor for these. If it’s a cold he/she can’t do anything anyway, and if it’s an infection I could get an antibiotic, but I’d rather not if I’m going to heal up in a few days anyway.

So when do you decide it’s time to go to a doctor?

My position is to never see the doctor. I’m just not willingly going there and I have had some major symptoms like sever abdominal pain and knock down chest pain. The situation has to dictate the ER or it’s not happening for me. That has happened before as a result of accidents. If I can tape it or sew it myself, that’s what I do first. If internal pain reaches a point where my ability to drive is about to be impaired, I’d drive to ER or call a friend to take me. That has not happened yet, but close.

No kind of general infection, allergy, cold, flu or sinus situation with get me to any doctor.

I’m fortunate. My medical insurance provides a nurse who does a phone triage when you call. After several questions, the RN makes a decision as to how soon you’ll see a MD.
Al, I would take any sort of chest pain as sufficient cause to see a doctor, whether you think it’s serious or not. Don’t wait for knockdown chest pain before you go. (IANAMD)

A week is a fairly long time for this kind of thing to last, especially repeatedly. I assume it is still bad enough for you to stay home, and it has not gotten to the point of sniffles. Going to the doctor, and providing a history, might see if you are somehow susceptible to this kind of thing. My wife sometimes has sinus infections - and when she finally goes and gets an antibiotic, it clears up right away.

As for your question, your work seems to have answered it. More than two days with no improvement in sight means go. Might be a bit short, but might be good advice in your case.

If I did things your way I might well be dead now. When I went to give blood one time I got rejected for a racy pulse. I had no symptoms, had just had a checkup, and probably would have ignored it except that I really wanted to give blood. Turns out I had a bad case of atrial fibrillation. I got away with one short in-patient procedure to try to reboot my heart and a bunch of pills, and not a long hospital stay after a heart attack or worse. Seems like a good deal to me. I’ve gone to the doctor regularly my entire life, and I’ve been in the hospital only one night in over 59 years. I’ve stayed there a lot longer with other people than for me.

When I get tired of my wife yelling at me.

When I’m getting worse each day instead of getting better.

When I suspect (from my past experience with staph infections, bronchitis, strep throat, etc.) that this is something I can’t get over on my own but need antibiotics.

When I have an alarming new symptom that could be a symptom of cancer (e.g., unexplained bleeding).

Broken bones or bleeding that won’t stop after a good night’s sleep.

There’s an old saying in medicine: All bleeding stops.

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea – the symptoms that cause dehydration – those will get me to the doctor. Also prolonged loss of appetite.

I just got over a three week bout with the flu (or something). I would have gone to the doctor but I was too sick to shower, and I ain’t going to the doc all greasy-haired and stinky.

Wow Al, you rock! Need more people to have your intestinal fortitude.

My work handbook for employees stipulates that if you’re off work more than a day due to illness you need a doctor’s note. Sick enough to call in twice in a row? You better get to a doctor on day 2. I’ve had it happen three times that I needed off work due to illness in the 9 years I’ve been here. Once was a case of hives that was never explained and lasted 5 months - when they first happened I was ordered to stay home from work by the dermatologist for 5 days and I had to see him every day, plus call his personal cell on Sunday to tell him I was OK. The second time was possible flu (H1N1 by symptoms) and my GP gave a note to stay home for 3 days because there were unvaccinated pregnant people at work, then I had to wear a mask for 2 more days. The third time was a throat infection that got worse over 3 days and sent me to the ER and ordered me home for another 3 days.

I know a couple of people who get bad sinus infections a couple times a year. They have good relationships with their GP’s and so they have a baseline of symptoms the GP is comfortable just scripting antibiotics over the phone for them. Keeps them at work and suffering far less than waiting until symptoms are bad enough to stay home.

I’m like you. But, I do go to the doctor when it’s “unusual.” Getting the same or similar infection 2-3 times a year is not normal. However, when I did go to the doctor for it, they didn’t do squat for me. However, I did diagnose myself with sinusitis, got nasal rinse, and now i’m much better.

I go to the doctor when I have a symptom that is Definitely Not Normal, or when I think that there’s something they can actually DO to make me feel better. I’m not going to the doctor so that they can say “Yup, that’s a bad cold all right.” I *will *go if I have a sinus infection or bronchitis that requires antibiotics.

If I feel poorly but I don’t think it will require blood work or other sticking with sharp things I will go if I feel it might be necessary. If I think it might be something that will require blood work or injections of some kind I have to be sick enough that it seems like my options are needles or death before I willingly go to the doctor.

I go to the doctor if there’s an infection. I don’t want to mess with infections. I just got back from having a previously-infected-thing (sweat gland) removed, surgically. Not fun at all but I did not want to continue battling infections.

I’ll go to the doctor if I am mysteriously sick. I didn’t go when I had “stomach flu” because everyone I knew had stomach flu. I would have gone to the doctor when I had bronchitis, because no one else had bronchitis (at the time - now everyone has it!) but oddly enough I already had an appointment for the day I first started coughing.

I go to the doctor a lot more freely now because, well, it’s paid for. I mean, I’m already paying for it, my HSA is all full. So many people I know can’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford it and that sucks. I don’t hesitate to go anymore.

I’ll go if the pain is too much to be borne - ie, I am worried that something may be broken or fractured - or if the symptoms last longer than seven days. That’s the rule, isn’t it? Seven days of the same stuff, with no cessation or easing.

I can’t imagine having a cold for a week straight. My colds run the length of a week, but that’s comign down with it, being really sick for about two days, and then slowly getting better, with stuffy nose and stuff. In five to seven days I am better. If it ever took longer, I’d be at the doctor’s.

I’m really good at advising my husband to go to the doctor when he’s ill but I’m also excellent at coming up with reasons why I don’t need to.

I do go each year for a physical but I spent so much time in doctor’s offices being poked, prodded and worse between 2005 and 2009 I’m just doctor’d out.

In general though significant and/or continuous pain, bleeding that I can’t control at home, oddly bent limbs, illness exceeding a week and spousal pressure would be the main reasons.

I don’t have insurance, so it has to be very bad to get me to see the doc. If I had insurance, I would have gone about a month ago when I had a recurring problem, but it seems to have gone away on its own. The last time I went to a doc was when I broke my foot almost four years ago. It was covered by workers comp because it happened on the job, but I hobbled around for a few days before I went.

When I need prescription drugs.