Is it the flu, or just a cold?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is now widespread across our state and the rest of the country. It’s important to know the difference between cold and flu symptoms to help get you on the road to recovery quickly.

Fever Usually 102°F, but can rise to over 104°F- typically lasts 3-4 days Rare in adults and older children, but as high as 102°F in infants and small children
Headache Sudden onset, can be severe Mild
Muscle aches Usual, often severe Mild
Tiredness/weakness Can last 2+ weeks Mild
Extreme exhaustion Sudden onset, can be severe Rare
Runny nose/sneezing Sometimes & mild Often
Sore throat Sometime & mild Often
Cough Often, can become severe Mild, hacking
Duration Typically lasts 7-10 days Typically lasts 7-10
TREATMENT PLAN ·   If you suspect you have the flu, contact your doctor. Antiviral prescriptions like Tamiflu can help minimize the severity and duration of the flu. Ideally, they should be started in the first 2 days of illness.

·   Get plenty of rest and fluids. Stay home until symptoms are improving and you have been fever free (less than 100°F without fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours.

·   Be aware that the flu can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia , and can be life-threatening in the very young and elderly.

·   The best treatment for a cold is rest and plenty of fluids, especially water.

·   Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better.

·   Antibiotics do not cure viral infections, including colds and the flu.

Contact your doctor if your symptoms are worsening after 4-5 days.

Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

• Difficulty breathing or chest pain
• Purple or blue color skin or lips
• Vomiting or unable to keep liquids down
• Exhibiting signs of dehydration: lightheaded, little/no urination, dry skin/mouth/eyes
• Less responsive or confused