Family Health: Cold vs. flu

AS WE HEAD INTO the height of flu season, it can be difficult to tell if you have the flu or are simply experiencing symptoms of a common cold. While the symptoms can seem similar, a common cold generally resolves itself. The influenza virus, however, can lead to serious complications, requiring immediate medical attention. Here are some common symptoms to help you differentiate.


A cold starts with a sore throat, leading to nasal congestion and malaise. Cold symptoms start slowly and can cause fatigue. Flu symptoms, on the other hand, come on fast and can include a headache, severe aches and pains, fatigue, and extreme exhaustion. Those with the flu may experience congestion and a sore throat, although upper respiratory symptoms are not always present. If your body feels suddenly racked with aches and pains, you may need to see a physician to determine whether you have the flu.


A high fever is a telltale sign that you may have the flu. If you have a fever above 101 degrees, accompanied by the flu symptoms listed above, it’s likely that you have influenza and need to see a doctor immediately.

Although the two are commonly confused, identifying whether you have the flu and getting proper medical treatment is crucial in avoiding complications, including pneumonia and bronchitis. Get to Owl Now Urgent Care as soon as you start experiencing flu symptoms, as early treatment can shorten the duration of the illness and help prevent potential complications.

This column is sponsored by Owl Now Urgent Care.



BIO: Dallas Valentine, FNP-BC, graduated from University of Michigan as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and has been practicing medicine for three years.

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