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Do I have the Flu or just a Cold?

By December 7, 2018 No Comments
Do I have the flu or just a cold?

The Common Cold

As its name implies, the common cold is the most common illness in the United States.  The average adult has 2 – 3 colds per year and, children under the age of 6 average 6 – 8 colds per year.  Since most people get the common cold during the fall and winter months, that means many kids get the cold as much as once per month, September through April!  That’s a lot of missed days from school and work!

How do I get the common cold?

-The Common cold is caused by many different viruses-the most common being Rhinovirus.

-The Common Cold can be transferred in three main ways:

-direct contact with another sick person

-touching a contaminated surface like a doorknob or desk

-inhaling particles in the air from another person when they cough or sneeze

Do I have a cold? Or Influenza? (a virus causing more severe symptoms)

Signs and Symptoms Influenza Common Cold
Symptom Onset Abrupt Gradual
Fever Usual Rare
Body Aches Usual Slight
Chills Fairly Common Uncommon
Fatigue, Weakness Usual Sometimes
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Stuffy Nose Sometimes Common
Sore Throat Sometimes Common
Chest Discomfort, Cough Common Mild to Moderate
Headache Common Rare

*A rapid test in the clinic can determine presence of influenza if needed but, testing for the common cold is expensive and usually not indicated.

How to protect yourself, and others!

-Wash, wash, wash!  Wash hands often with soap and water (#1)

-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

-Avoid close contact with others (shaking hands, kissing, hugging)

-Cough and sneeze into tissue or upper arm of shirt

-Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

There is no cure!  So how do I feel better?

-Lots of rest

-Drink lots of water

-Over-the-counter medications can help relieve symptoms

-NEVER give Aspirin to children less than 18 years of age

How long will I be sick?

-The Common Cold usually lasts 3- 7 days in adults and up to 10 days in children BUT, people can be sick for up to 2 WEEKS!

When should I see a doctor?

-Symptoms lasting more than 10 days

-Severe or unusual symptoms

-Younger than 3 months of age with fever greater than 100.4F and/or lethargic

-Remember, a cold can lead to other problems-like ear infections, worsening asthma, sinus infection and even pneumonia

For more information, read here: https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html