To diagnose the symptoms of common ailments, observe the length of time the symptoms last. For example, the common cold typically lasts for one week, states WebMD. The symptoms of viral or bacterial pneumonia and the flu worsen over time and last longer than one week, reports eMedicineHealth.
The symptoms of common ailments, such as a cold, typically include a runny nose, cough, congestion and a sore throat, according to Mayo Clinic. Serious health conditions, such as the flu, display additional symptoms, including fever, fatigue, muscle aches and vomiting, reports WebMD. The symptoms of viral or bacterial pneumonia include common cold symptoms along with fever, mucus, appetite loss and shortness of breath, notes eMedicineHealth.
Treat common ailments with decongestants, cough syrup and pain relievers until symptoms disappear, suggests Mayo Clinic. Viruses, such as the common cold, the flu and viral pneumonia, do not respond to antibiotics. Those suffering from a common cold, the flu or viral pneumonia should rest often and drink plenty of fluids.
Bacterial infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, do respond to antibiotic treatments, however. Those diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia should begin an antibiotic treatment immediately to prevent the infection from spreading. In addition, those with bacterial pneumonia should rest, increase fluid intake and reduce stress until the infection disappears, according to eMedicineHealth.