Do I Have A Cold Or The Flu?

Now that we have officially re-entered the time of year in which colds and flu become prevalent, it might be beneficial to review the causes, and symptoms for both colds and the flu, along with the differences between both conditions.

This will help you understand which illness you or your family member might be experiencing, along with the steps that you should take if either health issue has emerged.

During those initial moments when you realize that you are not feeling  normal, it could be the result of symptoms that indicate the onset of either a cold or the flu. Maybe you are experiencing a sore throat. You might be dealing with a runny nose, or a stuffy nose. Maybe you are simply feeling rundown, overly tired or generally feeling like your body has been invaded by a virus.

None of these symptoms are pleasant. But even though you will not be thrilled with the realization that you are probably contending with a cold or the flu, it will be helpful to determine which unwelcome issue has entered your system. Either condition will certainly impact your day-to-day living experience until the symptoms improve, and the illness itself subsides.

Whether you are forced into confrontation with a flu bug or the common cold, both conditions will deliver a strong dose of discomfort along with a desire for the condition to pass.

Symptoms Of A Cold  

It is very likely that you are familiar with symptoms of a cold and you also might prefer not to even think about them. However, if you find yourself contending with a sore throat, cough, a runny nose, stuffy nose, congestion, or sneezing, these are indications that you are dealing with this illness. This is also the case if you have body aches, headaches, a low-grade fever, or that feeling of simply not feeling well. There are a number of viruses that can trigger a case of the common cold.

Flu Symptoms

The flu is a common reference to the influenza virus, which is a respiratory illness that causes the flu. There are two primary forms of the influenza virus that combine to create annual flu epidemics: Type A, and Type B.

The influenza virus is certainly contagious, and will result in an illness that can range anywhere from mild to severe. The CDC has estimated that influenza is responsible for between 9.3 million and 49 million illnesses in the U.S. each year.

Flu symptoms can include feeling as though you have a fever, along with the reality of having an actual fever. You might you will usually experience chills, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and either a runny or stuffy nose.

How To Tell The Difference

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided specific information concerning the differences between these illnesses. According to the CDC, symptoms will develop gradually with a cold, while they emerge more abruptly if you are experiencing the flu.

Fever and body aches are less common with a cold, and are most frequent with the flu. Chest discomfort, cough, chills, headaches and fatigue are also more likely to indicate the flu. However, the presence of sneezing, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat will mean that it is more likely that you have encountered a cold.

Complications From The Flu

There is also risk of additional complications for certain individuals who experience the flu. This includes older adults, young children, and anyone who suffers from a specific group of health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cancer.

In some cases flu can lead to sinus infections, ear infections, or more serious issues such as bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Steps To Avoid Spreading A Cold And The Flu

The flu can be spread between individuals from up to six feet away. This primarily occurs through droplets that emerge with coughing, sneezing or talking.

The best source of prevention to protect yourself from the flu is to simply receive a flu vaccination. The importance of making sure that you receive a flu immunization was recently discussed here.

Making sure that you wash your hands can also reduce the chances of incurring or spreading the flu or a cold. This is also true of covering your mouth when you cough. Making it a priority to receive a sufficient amount of sleep each night will also boost your chances of staying well.

If you are experiencing complications from the flu, and are already dealing with one of the conditions that were mentioned earlier, it is important that you contact your physician in order to avoid serious complications from the illness.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help!

Fortunately, if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, and are attempting to determine whether you are dealing with a cold or the flu, you can contact or visit us at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. Our professionals will be focused on doing everything possible to reduce your discomfort, and help your situation improve.

This also applies to any other concerns or health issues that you may encounter during these winter months.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center, not only do we deliver immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening, but we also provide both primary and preventive care.

Our Primary Care 

Our intuitive approach and commitment to patients enable them to receive the specific type of care that they prefer, when and how they want it. This include:

  • After Hours Care Available
  • Continuity of Care
  • Health Maintenance
  • Patient Education
  • Vaccinations

Our Preventative Care 

  • Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling
  • Atherosclerosis Risk Factor Modification
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Depression Screening
  • HIV-STD Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Obesity Screening & Counseling
  • Type 2 Diabetes Screening
  • Weight Management
  • Wellness Exams

Our Urgent Care 

Of course, At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center we also provide immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening.

Regardless of whether you are in need of primary care, preventative care or urgent care, you can receive the same great care and consideration that you receive by visiting our offices simply by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems.

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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