Colds and Flu: Know The Difference… and Get Well
When it comes to cold and flu, it’s important to know the difference. That’s because a cold—while annoying and unpleasant—tends to not be serious. With the flu, it can be a different story.
The symptoms are similar…but different.
The common cold and the flu are both respiratory illnesses, and they can have similar symptoms. The main difference is the severity of the symptoms.
- Flu symptoms generally come on quickly and are more severe. Most common symptoms are high fever and body ache.
- Colds gradually get worse over a few days and include runny or stuffy nose. They often include a sore throat, and they may cause tiredness, but it is less severe than the exhaustion that comes with flu.
The treatments for cold and flu are also different.
- For colds, your urgent care provider is likely to recommend just rest and drinking lots of fluids. He or she might also recommend that you take over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, to help control sneezing and alleviate a stuffy nose or cough.
- Flu treatment might include antiviral prescription drugs to help you get better faster and make symptoms more bearable. Our providers recommend starting treatment as soon as possible after getting sick, so it’s important that you talk to a provider as soon as you notice the first symptoms. The longer you wait to start taking antiviral drugs, the slower the results.
When to visit Urgent Care.
Whether it’s a cold or the flu, if symptoms do not improve or you notice symptoms getting worse, you should come in to see your Urgent Care provider. In some cases, the flu can result in a secondary infection and can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis.
If you already have cold or flu symptoms, it’s important to come in if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent or severe fever
- Painful swallowing
- Persistent or severe cough
- Persistent or severe congestion or headaches