Cold and Flu

You’ve got a sore throat, your head and muscles are aching, and now you’re running a fever. Is this a cold? Or could it be the flu?

cold and flu - Sick woman drinking tea holding thermometer on couchThe common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses that share many similar symptoms. While colds are generally mild and do not result in serious health problems, influenza can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications.

The only way to truly know if you’re suffering from a cold or the flu is a rapid flu test. Get the test at Liberty Urgent Care today and start feeling better sooner!

Cold and Flu Basics

Common Cold

Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold, but the rhinovirus is the most common culprit. Symptoms are generally mild, last from 7-10 days, and include:

  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Watery eyes

Cold infections can happen any time of the year, and are spread through the air and close personal contact. You can reduce your risk of catching a cold by washing your hands often, avoiding touching your face, disinfecting surfaces, and staying away from people who are sick. There is no cure for a cold. The best medicine is lots of rest and plenty of fluids.

Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses. It occurs seasonally (October through May), and is spread through droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu symptoms can be mild to severe, and include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

Children and some adults may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

Young children, adults 65+, pregnant women and people with certain chronic illnesses are all at a higher risk of developing serious complications. The best way to protect ourselves, and those more vulnerable, from the flu, is to get an annual flu shot!

If you do come down with the flu, our providers can prescribe an antiviral medication proven to lessen the severity and duration of your illness. When taken promptly, antivirals can reduce the time you are sick by 1-2 days and also prevent serious complications, such as pneumonia.