When you or a loved one comes down with a respiratory infection, you may wonder if it’s the cold or the flu. It’s essential to know the difference between the two seasonal problems and arm yourself and your family against them.
Read on to know more about these contagious illnesses and where you can go in Fairless Hills, PA, for advanced adult care.
What Causes Colds and Flu?
It is very prevalent to catch a cold or the flu from an individual who is getting sick or who already has active symptoms. Person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze readily spread cold and flu germs.
Both types of illnesses are caused by viruses. For instance, colds are caused by the rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, and many coronaviruses not related to COVID-19 illnesses. In contrast, influenza viruses cause the flu. Therefore, antibiotics are not effective against colds and the flu. The treatment option is largely palliative or providing symptom relief.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Malaise and fatigue
- Cough and chest discomfort
Additionally, flu symptoms start very abruptly. Conversely, most people testify to feeling a cold “coming on.” In other words, cold symptoms begin slowly and build over a few days.
Cold symptoms include:
- Mild body aches and fatigue
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
What Are the Differences Between Flu and Cold Symptoms?
Flu symptoms are much worse and take longer to resolve completely than cold symptoms. Also, the flu can cause serious medical complications.
- According to the CDC, flu complications can include:
- Ear infections
- Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), and muscles (myositis)
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
- Sepsis (body-wide infection)
Finally, the very young, the elderly (65 and older), and those with compromising medical conditions, such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, may develop serious complications following the flu.
Can You Protect Yourself Against Colds and Flu in Fairless Hills, PA?
Yes, you can. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine that could protect against the common cold. However, a flu vaccine is developed each year and made readily available to the general public. Vaccines build the body’s natural defenses against illness by injecting a small amount of the suspected contagion.
Additionally, several common health practices protect against these infectious diseases. They include:
- Routine hand washing for a full 20 seconds with soap and water
- Application of hand sanitizer when handwashing is unavailable
- Covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth
- Isolating when you suspect you are ill or are actively sick
- Avoiding contact with sick people
Comprehensive Urgent Care in Fairless Hills, PA
At Patient Care Now Urgent Care, our four board-certified physicians are Dr. Kendel Kidwell, Dr. Andrew Ball, Dr. Dominic Ruocco, and Dr. Alvaro Alban. As they head our on-site team, they deliver the finest care for acute and chronic illnesses, injuries, and non-life-threatening issues happening unexpectedly. Additionally, they provide affordable physical exams, testing, and occupational health services.
Our office is open 7 days a week year ‘round. For more information about Patient Care Now Urgent Care, call us at (267) 202-6433.
We look forward to serving you and your loved ones!