Differences Between the Flu and the Common Cold

Cold and flu season is upon us and for nearly 20% of the American population, that means an onset of some very unpleasant symptoms. The cold and the flu both present very similar symptoms so it can be hard to tell them apart.

Despite having common symptoms, the cold and flu should be treated very differently. If you start developing cold or flu symptoms, take a look at these key differences to determine what treatment is right for you. 

Key Differences

Some symptoms that can appear with either a cold or flu include: 

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose 
  • Cough

Although these symptoms can appear with either virus, they’re usually more severe if you’re suffering from the flu. The flu can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, and a fever. Doctors say that the presence of a fever is one of the quickest ways to diagnose rather a patient has a cold or the flu. Cold symptoms typically dissipate in a few days, while the flu will last closer to a week. 

Managing a Cold

Treating a cold typically doesn’t require medical assistance. Utilize over the counter cold and cough medication to help manage your symptoms. If you need advice on what medication to buy, talk to your pharmacist. In addition to over the counter medication, be sure you’re getting plenty of rest and fluids to prevent dehydration. Your symptoms will start to go away on their own in a few days. In the meantime, wash your hands regularly and avoid shaking hands or being in close contact with those around you. 

Where to Get Treated for the Flu

If you think you’re suffering from the flu, it’s best to get treated by a medical professional. Your local urgent care center can offer quick and effective treatment so you’re on the fast track to healing, not waiting multiple days to be seen by a primary care physician. Go into the urgent care with a list of your symptoms and let them know if you’ve been experiencing a fever. Urgent care staff will help keep you hydrated, prescribe higher strength medications to manage your symptoms if needed, and make sure you’re staying safe while you’re ill. 

To reduce your risk of the flu by getting a seasonal flu shot or for flu treatment, visit your local urgent care today! With flexible scheduling, low costs, and short wait times, there’s no reason not to get treated!