Cold and Flu
Both the common cold and the flu share many of the same symptoms, and it is important to determine the seriousness of your symptoms and determine the right treatment.
The common cold causes congestion, sore throat and sneezing. Both the common cold and the flu can cause cough, headache and chest discomfort. Complications of the common cold are usually minor and include bronchitis, sinus pressure and sinus infection.
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. It’s more likely to cause high fever, body aches, fatigue and weakness when compared to a common cold. Complications include bronchitis and pneumonia. The flu is spread by inhaling droplets in the air containing the flu virus, sharing drinks or eating utensils or handling items touched by a person infected with the flu. Symptoms begin one to four days after infection with the flu virus. Those most susceptible include pregnant women, infants, elderly and those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and HIV.
Symptoms of Cold and Flu
Symptoms of the flu and common colds are some that nearly everyone will experience at some point in their lives. From coughing and stuffy noses, to something more serious like a fever or constant, recurring cold and flu symptoms, keeping an eye on your symptoms is key.
What is a Fever?
A fever is a symptom, not a disease on its own. It’s the body’s reaction to infection and illness and helps the body fight against the invading organism. Most healthy children and adults can tolerate a fever of 103-104°F for short periods without problems. Viral infections (cold/flu) and bacterial infections (urinary tract infections/pneumonia) often cause a fever.
A fever that begins after travel in other countries needs to be evaluated by a doctor as this allows exposure to other diseases. Frequent or recurring fevers should also be evaluated by a doctor. If your fever is very high or you experience recurring flu and cold symptoms, then you should seek a medical professional immediately.
Cold and Flu Treatment
Treatment for a cold can be anything from 48 hours or so of rest to a bath in warm water or even many over-the-medicines. It is when problems persist, however, that you need to seek help from a medical professional.
The flu, on the other hand, is much more serious than a common cold and can even be life threatening if left untreated.
The best way to treat the flu is not to get it. A flu shot, or the flu vaccine, will help your body fight off certain strains of the virus and keep you healthier and your body more prepared. You can get vaccinated at an urgent care or from your primary care doctor, and many employers offer it for free during flu season.
That being said, a vaccine does not help if you already have the flu. If you suspect you may have the flu, an urgent care center can test you and get you the right diagnosis and treatment to help you start feeling better, faster.
How to Protect Yourself
If you have a weakened immune system it’s even more important to protect yourself from the cold and flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect yourself is to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and help young children do the same.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water is not available. Also, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay away from people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold and flu.
Urgent Care for Cold and Flu
An urgent care is the best place to accurately diagnose your cold or flu and learn about the best way to treat your symptoms. If your illness is minor, then you may have concrete instructions on how to start feeling better, sooner. If the problem is worse, a trip to urgent care can help accurately determine your issue and get you the treatment you need, sooner.
Rosamond Urgent Care is here to help with your cold and flu symptoms. We proudly serve patients in Southern Kern County, including Rosamond, Edwards, Mojave, Ridgecrest and California City.