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Differences Between Common Colds and the Flu

The common cold and the flu virus lead to some of the most debilitating symptoms for patients. Whenever a patient experiences a sudden cold or the flu they can miss weeks of work, days of school, and other important priorities.

Most patients mistake the cold and flu as the same illnesses, but each is unique in its own way. Additionally, the way to treat the cold differs slightly from the flu since they are distinct and separate types of viruses. Understanding the differences between each can ensure patients are protected against both types of infections:

The common cold is a rhinovirus

Common colds are triggered by a “rhinovirus,” which is a virus that specifically infects patients through the nasal passage and throat. A cold is the result of an acute upper respiratory infection and cannot be vaccinated. This means that patients will have to address their symptoms with rest, medication (over-the-counter relievers), and fluids.

The symptoms of a common cold usually last for less than a week, which means treatment can help address symptoms in just a few days.

Influenza is a virus that causes “the flu”

The influenza virus infects nearly 44 million people every year, causing the “flu” in a large chunk of the population. Unlike a common cold, patients can actively vaccinate against the flu with a flu shot. A flu shot is the best way to prevent the virus before it can infect a patient’s immune system.

Flu symptoms like sneezing or coughing are more extreme than a common cold. A flu patient may experience symptoms for upwards of two weeks even with ample rest and recovery.

The common cold and flu create similar symptoms and problems

The reason why patients confuse commons colds with the flu is because each virus causes similar symptoms. Both common colds and the flu cause sneezing, coughing, congestion, fever, nausea, and aches. However, the flu usually has more intense symptoms like body aches, vomiting, and extreme headache. If you’re having trouble diagnosing your condition, please contact a healthcare provider to refer you to needed symptom relief!

If you believe you need an expert to provide treatment, visit AFC Urgent Care Burlington to help with cold and flu treatment! Our urgent care staff is equipped with facilities and amenities to help provide the best-in-class urgent care for patients of all needs.

Common colds and flu viruses can be a real pain for patients and families of all sizes. But thankfully, urgent care experts are here to fight off the flu!

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