The holiday season brings with it celebrations, family and friend gatherings, cold weather, and the not so fun part: respiratory infections.
How do you know if it is a cold or the flu?
The common cold and the flu (or influenza) are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. They share many similar symptoms, but the diagnosis and treatment differ.
Here are a few tips, but always call your doctor for more information if you are not sure.
Cold symptoms are generally milder. They develop slowly and can include: fever up – low grade , runny or stuffy nose (often with green- or yellow-colored discharge), sore throat, cough, sneezing and just feeling exhausted.
The Flu symptoms are more severe, and often come on suddenly: fever over 102°F, stuffy nose, nausea, chills and sweats, fatigue, muscle aches, especially in your back, arms and legs, cough, headache, loss of appetite, vomiting in some cases.
Consider a call to our clinic if you are not certain , OR If you have an underlying medical condition such as asthma, age > 60, or diabetes, which may put you at greater risk of secondary infection. It is recommended that you consider evaluation.
Until you see the doctor, rest, hydrate, avoid alcohol and tobacco. Taking over the counter cold medications may help, but have caution if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure.
Most important is a preventative approach – good hand washing, stress management and good nutrition.
Schedule your annual exam today if you have not had one this year, and we can review more preventative strategies specific to your needs.
In wellness,
Dr. A