Under The Weather? How To Know If It's A Cold Or The Flu

You're sneezing, coughing, and are achy all over -- symptoms that become more common during the Fall and Winter. While you are curled up in bed, you might be wondering whether you have a cold or the flu. Especially in the early phases, it can be hard to spot the difference between these two ailments. But while your body can generally fight a cold off quickly, it might take up to a few weeks to fully recover from the flu. As the immediate clinic Redmond trusts, we can diagnose your illness, but this guide will help you spot the general differences. 

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The Common Cold
The common cold is caused by a virus, and your body can generally fight it off with rest and fluids. Colds generally last about a week, and you usually don't need to visit a medical clinic for care. 

Cold Symptoms

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

  • Congestion

  • Cough

  • Slight fever (more common in children)


If these symptoms do not improve within the week, or get worse, you might have a bacterial infection. An urgent care clinic will be able to diagnose you properly. 

Influenza
While these two viruses are easy to get confused, remember that symptoms of the flu are usually more severe and last longer. The flu can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. 


Flu Symptoms

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • Fever

  • Congestion

  • Muscle aches

  • Cough


If you notice shortness of breath as the flu progresses, visit a doctor as soon as possible. Pneumonia is a complication of the flu, and is especially common in older adults. 

Cold And Flu Prevention
While they have differing symptoms, prevention of these viruses is similar. Take the following steps to lower your risk of contracting a cold or the flu.
 

  • Get A Flu Shot: Visit a medical clinic during the Fall to get your annual shot.

  • Wash Your Hands: Cold and flu viruses exist on many everyday surfaces, so keep your hands clean.

  • Get Plenty Of Sleep: Your body needs rest to fight infection.

  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Viruses enter through mucus membranes, many of which are in your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Eat Well: A balanced diet is key to a strong immune system.


If you are concerned about your symptoms, visit one of our urgent care clinics for a diagnosis. About 85% of these clinics are open seven days a week, but check specific hours online. As the immediate clinic Redmond and the surrounding areas trust, we are here to confirm your illness and recommend treatment.