Sometimes its hard to tell if you have the flu or just another cold
What you should know:
•Flu goes from mild to severe quickly
•Symptoms should be treated one at a time
•Plenty of rest and fluids speed up recovery time
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Hi, I'm Carmen Davailus and I'm a MinuteClinic nurse practitioner. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you have the flu, also known as influenza, or just another cold. The best way to distinguish between the two usually depends on how quickly the illness comes on and the severity of your symptoms.
The symptoms associated with the flu usually go from mild to severe quickly, sometimes within hours. A cold typically develops much slower over the course of a few days. The symptoms most commonly associated with the flu are high fever between 101 and 104 that lasts three to four days, headache, general aches and pains, runny nose, loss of appetite, severe chest discomfort and cough, and fatigue or weakness that can last two to three weeks after your major symptoms are gone.
Even though the symptoms of the flu are more serious than a cold, the treatment options are often the same. Make sure you get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids like water, clear juices, caffeine-free teas, chicken broth, and soup. All these liquids help speed up recovery time. You can use over-the-counter remedies to help minimize the symptoms. It's better to treat the symptoms one by one rather than taking a lot of combination medications. You don't want to overmedicate yourself. Also, if you get a flu test within 48 hours of the onset of your symptoms, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medication for treatment.
So if you have a few of those symptoms I mentioned, you may have the flu. Be sure to confirm the diagnosis with your health care provider or a MinuteClinic nurse practitioner, and if you have any questions, talk to us or a CVS pharmacist. We're happy to help.
Source: CVS Caremark Health Resources