Autumn is in the air, which means cold and flu season is on its way. Between 5% to 20% of the United States population comes down with the flu annually, which means keeping clean should be a top priority. But keeping your hands clean and away from your face are only two ways to prevent these common illnesses from making past your body’s first line of defense.
However, once you’ve been infected it’s important to understand the differences between the common cold and the flu in order to receive proper treatment. This can be tricky since the symptoms of a bad cold can be similar to influenza symptoms.
The Common Cold vs. Influenza
Determining whether or not you have a cold or the flu can be challenging based solely on the symptoms you’re experiencing. This is because the common cold and the flu are both respiratory illnesses. However, if you look closely at your symptoms you may be able to identify the differences.
Symptoms of the common cold
The average person typically recovers from a cold within a 10-day period, although the symptoms of the illness may last anywhere between 48 hours to two weeks. Symptoms of a cold include:
- Watering eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Sinus headache
- Sore throat
Symptoms of the flu
The flu can be dangerous for those with a weak immune system or for those who do not seek proper treatment or rest. Unlike the common cold, which is relatively harmless save for a potential development of bronchitis, the flu may cause dangerously high fevers or even sepsis if left untreated. Common symptoms of the flu that differentiate this illness from the common cold include:
- High fever
- Body aches
Treatment for the cold and flu
Both the common cold and flu have over-the-counter remedies available to those looking for symptom relief. For those affected, it’s recommended to stay in bed and to stay hydrated. Using fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol can also be incredibly beneficial to those with the flu virus.
An urgent care center can help evaluate your symptoms. The earlier on your symptoms are tested, the earlier you can treat your illness. Multicare urgent care clinics can help you recover from your cold or flu faster so you can return to work ready to take on the day. For professional and immediate cold and flu relief according to your schedule, visit an urgent care center today.