Temperatures are steadily dropping and flu season is in full swing, leaving you more susceptible to colds and flu.  While both are respiratory infections and share similar symptoms, learning the differences can mean better treatment and getting better faster.

Symptoms of a cold

If you catch a cold, you will begin to exhibit symptoms between one and three days after initial exposure to the virus. Symptoms and severity can vary on a case-to-case basis. Typically colds can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications, fluids and rest. You may have a cold if:

  • You have a stuffed or runny nose
  • You are congested in your chest or throat
  • Your voice is hoarse, or your throat is sore
  • You are persistently coughing or sneezing
  • You have a persistent mild headache

Complications stemming from a cold are uncommon but still possible. If you have a high fever (over 101 F) for several days without breaking or experience shortness of breath, visit AFC Urgent Care Norwalk as soon as possible to be examined and treated. 

Symptoms of the flu

November is deep into flu season, which peaks between January and March before concluding near the end of spring. High-risk patients should get checked immediately upon developing symptoms to prevent complications. This group includes pregnant women, the elderly, young children and patients with chronic conditions and compromised immune systems. Symptoms of the flu may include:

  • High fever that will not break
  • Persistent head and full-body aches
  • Chills and sweats
  • Chest congestion, wheezing and persistent coughing
  • Extreme exhaustion

The first and most important step in protecting against the flu virus is getting a yearly flu vaccine available at AFC Urgent Care Norwalk. While there are many different types of flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be the most common.  Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

What’s the difference?

While both colds and flu make you feel lousy and their symptoms are similar, a cold develops more slowly while the flu can show up instantaneously. The flu is more likely to lead to more serious complications, including pneumonia, inflammation of the heart muscle and organ failure. If you begin to experience complications, go to the local emergency room immediately. 

Cold & Flu Treatment in Norwalk, CT

If you develop symptoms of a cold or the flu, visit AFC Urgent Care for walk-in flu tests and treatment seven days a week. Our center offers extended evening and weekend hours to fit your schedule, and most major insurance plans are accepted. For more information about the flu shot, please call 203-845-9100.