The common cold and influenza are both contagious infections that affect your respiratory symptom. Colds usually occupy your upper respiratory system like the nose and throat. The flu, though, affects the lungs, and in serious cases, can be deadly to those with weak immune systems. A large variety of viruses cause colds and the flu.
Symptoms of a Cold
Cold symptoms often last from 48 hours to 14 days. The average person makes a full recovery within 10 days. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of sinuses
- Stuffy noses caused by mucus and phlegm buildup
- Sore throat
- Sneezing and/or coughing
Symptoms of the Flu
Flu symptoms are similar to cold symptoms, but also have these variants:
- High fever (usually a sudden onset)
- Chills (related to fever)
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
Once you have a cold, you can take medications that may make the symptoms a little more tolerable until it passes. Pain and fever relievers, cough medicines and nasal sprays for congestion are common over-the-counter treatments. Severe medical conditions may need something stronger like prescription medications. Other things you can do:
- Keep hydrated with water
- Rest as much as possible
- Moisten the air with a humidifier to make breathing easier
- Gargle with salt water to relieve throat pain.
These same actions can also help with flu symptoms. The average adult recovers from the flu within three to five days.
Should I go to Indigo?
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care can evaluate your cold and flu symptoms and, as necessary, prescribe medications that will help relieve your symptoms until you get better.
If you’re having any of the following symptoms, it’s probably best if you visited an emergency department:
- Trouble breathing or chest pains
- Fever is high or does not improve
- You cannot keep fluids or food down
- Hurts to swallow
- Coughing will not stop
- Congestion and headache will not stop