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As the common cold and flu, also known as influenza, are viral respiratory illnesses, their symptoms might be similar. Initially, it would be hard to determine if you have a cold or flu because of the symptoms. 

However, these symptoms develop because of different viruses. The effects of the flu virus are potentially fatal and more intense  compared to those of the common cold. 

Regardless, a virus that leads to colds or flu is not pleasant to have or to pass on to others. Thus, it is crucial for you to get the proper treatment as soon as possible so you will not spread the disease and make other people sick as well.

Telling the Difference Between a Cold or Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common cold develops gradually and might involve some aches or pains in the body. It’s always accompanied by sneezing fits, a stuffy nose or a sore throat. The cold may also trigger chest discomfort and coughs, but you will rarely experience headaches or chills. 

The flu, on the other hand, develops abruptly and is often accompanied by a fever, headache and aching pain all over the body. According to our primary care doctor in Raleigh, you might feel some chill when you have the flu or have coughing and sneezing fits, as well as a stuffy nose and sore throat. You may also feel generalized body weakness and fatigue. 


Treating Common Cold or Flu

To fight the cold virus, you will need plenty of bed rest, fluids and sore throat relief, as well as an over-the-counter medication for sneezing, clogged nose and cough. 

If you have the flu, you’ll need to take medication for the fever, as well as pain relief for the headache and muscle pain. Otherwise, the flu can develop into a complication, such as pneumonia, which might require antibiotics or hospitalization. 

Whether you have a cold or the flu, it’s always better to wear a mask because you’re carrying a virus that is highly contagious. If bed rest is not possible and you have to be around people, make sure to wash your hands and use separate utensils when eating to prevent the virus from spreading.

Duration of Cold or Flu

Colds may last for a week with continuous treatment. If the symptoms don’t seem to improve, you’ll need to get checked for a possible bacterial infection or other illnesses with similar symptoms to a cold, such as a sinus infection or allergic rhinitis. 

The symptoms of the flu in the first two to five days are more intense and if you’re taking your medications as directed, you’ll see a gradual improvement in about a week. However, it is common to still feel weak even after you have recovered from the flu, especially with some forms of the flu virus. 

Primary care doctors in Raleigh recommend getting annual flu shots to minimize the intensity of the virus’ effects and prevent post-viral fatigue.

Importance of Flu Shots

In this day and age, influenza is more serious than before with more than 200,000 people in the U.S. hospitalized every year because of the virus. If you’re over 65, pregnant, or suffering from chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes or cancer, your risk is higher for developing flu complications so you’ll need the vaccine’s protection. Flu shots are available in Schneider Medical Group primary care in Raleigh.

Flu vaccines are needed every year because the virus keeps mutating and changing. Last year’s inoculation might not work to protect your body from this year’s virus. Your body’s response and immune system also change as the effects of the vaccine you’ve been injected with last year declines.

Visit Schneider Medical Group Primary Care in Raleigh for a Flu Shot

Protect yourself from the flu virus by visiting Scheider Medical Group today. Dr. Schneider’s office provides extended scheduling hours for office visits and a direct 24 hour line of communication every day. Book your appointment now! For inquiries, call us at 919-301-8971.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.