We are committed to keeping you healthy no matter the circumstance. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, we recommend getting checked by a health care provider as soon as possible. Often times, the key to fast flu and cold recovery is early intervention. Cold and flu symptoms are very similar. Both, however, can turn into something more serious, such as a sinus infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia, without proper care. If you are unsure whether your symptoms are those of a cold, flu, or something more serious, our physicians can help you recognize the signs and ensure that you get the care you need quickly.
What is the Flu?
The flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a viral infection. The virus attacks the lungs, nose and throat and causes mild to severe symptoms. The flu is most often spread through tiny droplets created when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets of moisture contain the infection. Infection occurs when the droplets are transferred to another person through the air or by transfer contact such as touching a surface with contagious particles and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. The influenza virus can live on surfaces up to 24 hours after contact. People of all ages can be infected. Symptoms of the flu typically appear about 5 - 7 days after exposure. The infection usually lasts an average of 7 - 10 days.
Common symptoms of the flu can include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny and/or stuffy nose
- Muscle and/or body aches
It’s also important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever. Antiviral medications are most effective only at the onset of symptoms (within first day only). If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, walk-in to one of our clinics as soon as possible. Our doctors and urgent care providers can perform a flu test and provide you with the best course of treatment.
Influenza is highly contagious so it is important to practice good hygiene by washing your hands during the cold seasons, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and proper cleaning of common objects that people touch.
What is an Upper Respiratory Infection? Is that a Cold?
A cold is a common viral illness that can be caused by many different viruses. While they are commonly known as colds, their official name is an Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) are the most common reason for urgent care visits and a big reason most of us have to call in sick to work. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, but you should see a doctor if your cold symptoms do not improve within a week. Colds are spread either through the air or from transferred secretions from an infected person. Colds and the flu can have common symptoms, but there are some important distinctions to note. Colds are generally milder than the flu, and people who have colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.
Common symptoms of a cold include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Mild fever
- Mild headache
While there are no specific tests for colds, your doctor may recommend a flu test to rule out influenza or other tests to make sure it is not another illness such as a pneumonia. Treatment for a URI usually includes rest, increased fluid intake, and sometimes OTC cold medicines such as decongestants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and Tylenol like products. Some at home remedies, include saline nose rinses, humidifiers, drinking warm liquids to help soothe the throat, drinking fluids, rest, and the use of immune boosting supplements like vitamin C. URI’s are highly contagious so it is important to practice good hygiene by washing your hands during the cold seasons, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and proper cleaning of common objects that people touch.