Colds and Flu

 Saratoga Hospital Urgent Care - Adirondack
Colds and Flu

Colds and Flu

little girl with flu coughing into her handBecause they are caused by viruses, colds and flu can't be cured or prevented by taking antibiotics. But there are steps you can take to help yourself feel better, keep germs from spreading and, perhaps most important, prevent yourself from catching a cold or flu from someone else.

Flu can be serious, especially for adults 65 and older, children 5 and under, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot.

How to tell the difference

Not sure whether you have a cold or the flu? This list of symptoms can help you decide.

Cold

  • Stuff, runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Minor aches and pains
  • Mild fatigue
  • Mild to moderate chest discomfort

Flu

  • Fever above 100°
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Cough, can become more severe
  • Aches and pains, often severe
  • Fatigue, weakness, and exhaustion
  • Chest discomfort

 

Treatment

For both colds and flu, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Take an expectorant to loosen mucus. For aches, pains, and fever, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

If you have the flu, antiviral medicines might help reduce your symptoms or the length of time you're sick. Call your primary care provider or come to Saratoga Hospital Urgent Care – Wilton.

Prevention

Since colds and flu spread easily, here are some tips to help protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Stay away from anyone who has the cold or flu
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand
  • Use a disinfectant to wipe down doorknobs, counters, and other common surfaces. 

If you're not feeling well, do your best to avoid infecting others.

Remember: For serious and life-threatening injuries or illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

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