Doctor explains difference between colds and the flu

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Cold and flu season is in full swing and many people have difficulty distinguishing between the two common winter illnesses.

The main way to tell the difference between a cold and the flu is by severity of symptoms.

Usually those experiencing cold symptoms, such as runny nose, sore throat and cough, still feel as though they can get through the day.

In the instance of the flu though, a more abrupt onset of high fever, cough and body aches usually occurs.

During cold and flu season it is important to take steps to prevent catching the viruses. The first line of defense against the flu is to get vaccinated. Also, be sure to wash hands often and avoid those who are sick.

If you are sick, it is extremely important to stay hydrated, especially for children. Because cold and flu are both viruses, in most instances, we just have to let them run their course. There are medications to help manage the symptoms, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If a normally healthy individual is experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms for more than five days, it is important to seek care from their primary care physician or an urgent care facility.

Those at higher risk of flu complications, such as the very young, elderly and/or those with chronic medical conditions such as COPD or diabetes, should seek medical treatment within forty-eight hours to three days of onset of symptoms.

For individuals who have not gotten their flu vaccination this year, Cone Health MedCenter Kernersville’s Urgent Care will be offering flu shots throughout the entire flu season.

The exceptional medical team at MedCenter Kernersville’s Urgent Care is also dedicated to treating individuals throughout the community experiencing flus and colds, and helping them return back to work and everyday activities as quickly as possible.

Spokesperson Background:
Dr. Steven Newton is a board-certified physician with Cone Health Urgent Care at MedCenter Kernersville.

Dr. Newton earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Catawba College and received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He recently completed his residency with Cone Health Family Medicine.