Cold, Flu & Viruses

Cold, Flu, & Viruses

Understanding the Differences

Unfortunately, the common cold, flu, and other various viruses cause similar symptoms, making it difficult to determine which illness you are experiencing. Understanding the difference between a cold and the flu is important because the approach to treatment is different for each. The flu is generally more serious than colds and should be treated by a medical professional. There are a few ways to determine whether you or a loved one has a cold or the flu.

We provide cold and flu treatment at our urgent care centers in Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Stuart and Palm Beach Gardens. Find a location near you today.

Cold Symptoms & Treatment

Colds and flus have similar symptoms, but a cold is usually milder than the flu and less likely to result in long-term health problems. The common cold usually begins and progresses more slowly than the flu. The first noticeable symptoms are usually a sore throat, runny nose, and cough. Most adults will not have a fever if they have a cold, but children might.

Some signs you are dealing with a cold and not the flu include:

  • Symptoms appear and worsen gradually
  • A sore throat is the first noticeable symptom
  • Stuffy nose comes next, along with sneezing
  • Coughing might begin in the initial stages
  • Mucus starts to get darker and thicker as symptoms progress

Cold symptoms usually only last for a week. If your symptoms last longer than this then you may have an infection and require antibiotics. If you are dealing with a cold, the symptoms can usually be treated with decongestants, lots of water, and plenty of rest.

Flu Symptoms & Treatment

A high fever – generally 101 degrees or above – and chills are the two symptoms that most often point to the flu. Unlike a cold, flu symptoms usually show up without warning. Some of the symptoms may mimic cold symptoms, such as a stuffy nose and coughing, but the immediate onset of symptoms and accompanying fever are usually enough to determine if you are dealing with the flu. Headaches are another common flu symptom not usually seen with colds.

A flu can lead to more serious problems like pneumonia and bacterial infections, which is why it is important to have them treated by a medical professional. Treating the symptoms of a flu until it passes is often effective, but you may require prescription antiviral drugs in certain cases.

Visit Us for an Official Diagnosis

A medical provider at Jupiter Medical Center Urgent Care can run special tests within the first few days of your symptoms to determine which illness you have. Visit one of our centers at the first sign of illness to quickly fight your symptoms and prevent further problems.