Colds and Flu –  Knowing the Difference

It’s important to know the difference between cold and flu symptoms. The common cold and the flu are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms.  The main difference being 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 may cause tiredness but less severe than exhaustion that comes with flu.


Cold and flu treatment also differs.  For colds, your urgent care doctor is  likely to recommend just rest and drinking lots of fluids. You might also 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 doctors recommend starting treatment as soon as possible after getting sick, so it’s important that you talk to a doctor as soon as you notice the first symptoms. The longer you wait to start taking antiviral drugs, the slower the results.



When to visit us:

If your symptoms do not improve after three to five days or notice and symptoms getting worse you should see your Urgent Care Doctor.   In some cases, the flu can result in a secondary infection and lead to pneumonia or bronchitis.


If you already have Cold and Flu symptoms, Its important to come in if any of the following are severe:

  • Persistent fever

  • Painful swallowing

  • Persistent coughing

  • Persistent congestion and headaches