The common cold and influenza are both respiratory illnesses that are caused by viruses. A person has around a 20% chance of getting influenza, but is likely to contract a cold 2-3 times, in an average year. Because these two illnesses have similar symptoms, it is important to understand what makes them different.
Difference Between Cold and Influenza Symptoms
The Common Cold Is Less Intense than the Flu
Colds usually have a much milder effect on a person than does the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, with sneezing. Coughing can be present with either disease. High fever, headache, and body aches are usually not associated with a cold.
Influenza Is Felt Throughout Your Body
While getting a cold is definitely a nuisance, getting the flu makes you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. Flu symptoms include fever and chills, coughing and sore throat, nasal irritation, headache and body aches, with an overall feeling of fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea, though that is more common in children than adults. A rapid test done at your primary doctor’s office or at our urgent care clinic can verify if you have the flu.
Treatment Involves Rest and Avoidance
If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people, except to get medical care if you feel it is necessary. Anti-viral drugs, if started early, can help shorten the length of your illness. If you are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider.
Urgent Care Network Omaha
Urgent Care Network Omaha is an independent, locally-owned group of three urgent care clinics in the Omaha metropolitan area. Our three clinics are:
The focus of Urgent Care Network Omaha clinics is to take care of the issues that aren’t extreme, but do need medical help. We treat minor illnesses like the flu, infections, fevers, nausea, etc. Also minor injuries such as sprains, possible broken bones, lacerations, sports injuries, etc. We also provide occupational health services like work comp care, pre-employment physicals, drug screens, etc. More details are available on our services page.
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