As a busy mom, it’s often tempting to shrug off certain symptoms as just a cold coming on or even just your kid trying to get out of school. It’s important, however, to be aware of what symptoms signal something bigger is happening, signs that the mild sniffle has turned severe or that an underlying health problem is rearing its ugly head.

Heavy Snoring

Everyone has written off a snoring relative at some point, assuming that this is how they’ve always been and there’s nothing to be done. However, heavy snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping.

There are a few different groups that are susceptible to sleep apnea. First, those who are obese may have the condition due to thickened necks. Second, even infants and children may have sleep apnea due to the interference of their tonsils with their breathing. Untreated sleep apnea can become quite dangerous, so don’t ignore those snores.

Teenage Nosebleeds

Many people get nosebleeds during the winter when the air is dry, with young children often requiring dehumidifiers to keep their delicate nasal passages from drying out and causing nosebleeds. However, if your teenager suddenly develops frequent nosebleeds, there may be another problem.

In teenagers, especially those showing other signs like poor hygiene or sudden changes in school performance, nosebleeds can be a sign of drug addiction. If you suspect your teen has been using drugs, it’s important to to seek out a rehab program that offers family-based care. These programs tend to recognize the value of a bio-psycho-social approach to addiction, addressing all of the relevant life areas impacted by addiction.

Horrid Headaches

Many people suffer from migraine headaches, a severe kind of headache that should be diagnosed by a neurologist. Sometimes migraines are preceded by an aura of some sort, and they often come along with light sensitivity and nausea. Luckily, while extremely unpleasant and sometimes long-lasting – a migraine can last for days at a time – a migraine is not life threatening and there are pharmaceutical treatments available.

However, if you’ve never been diagnosed with migraines or you have a severe sudden-onset headache that doesn’t follow your typical migraine patterns, beware of any headache you would categorize as “the worst headache of your life.” Such a headache could mean you have a brain aneurysm. Aneurysms can be deadly, so call 911 immediately if you suspect this could be the case.

If possible, it’s always best to get any unfamiliar or persistent symptom looked at by a doctor as even the most mundane symptoms can be signs of something more. And while most of the time a mother’s discretion is enough and another day won’t matter, with life-threatening symptoms or behaviors, always look at the worst possibility first. It could be a matter of life and death.