Flu information

Is it Cold or the Flu?

If you feel like you've been hit by a truck, it's probably the flu. Symptoms like sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches, congestion, and cough tend to come on suddenly. Colds are usually less intense and include a runny or stuffy nose. The flu gets better over 2 to 5 days, but you might feel run-down for a week or longer. Colds come on slowly and last about a week.

While some people may get a slight fever when they have a cold, most don’t. If you have the flu, you’ll probably run a temperature of 100-102 degrees or higher. Children's flu fevers tend to be higher. 

Colds and flu are respiratory illnesses, which affect your airways, so both can cause coughing.

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be a complication of the flu. Call your doctor if you have a persistent cough, fever higher than 102 degrees and chills, a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when you cough -- or if you hack up yellow-green or bloody phlegm.

The quickest and best way to know which illness you have is to get a test at your doctor's office.

By taking a nasal or throat swab, your doctor can often tell if you have the flu virus, usually within 30 minutes or less. If the test shows you have the flu and your symptoms started within the last 48 hours, your doctor may suggest antiviral medicine to help you recover more quickly. These medications can shorten your flu by 1-2 days and may lessen the severity of the symptoms.
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