Feel Better,

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Cold or Flu?Although similar in some ways, the flu and common cold affect the body differently. Here’s how you can tell if you are suffering from influenza or a run-of-the-mill viral infection.
The Common Cold
Caused by a viral infection, the common cold is usually harmless for people with healthy immune systems. Most of the time, a cold leads to minor symptoms, including nasal congestion, which can sometimes cause a sore throat via post nasal drip.
In certain instances, a cold can also cause what’s known as viral syndrome, which is a term that refers to general symptoms of a viral infection that occur without a clear cause. In this case, a patient may experience a wider range of relatively mild symptoms, including congestion, moderate body aches, chills, cough, a mild fever, malaise and/or a sore throat. As the cold runs its course, discharge from the nose may become thicker, yellow or green. That said, this does not usually indicate a bacterial infection.
Most people recover from a cold within seven to ten days; however, symptoms may persist longer in people who smoke cigarettes. While children tend to be at greater risk for contracting colds, adults typically contract two to three each year.
While the common cold can be caused by a range of viruses, the flu is caused by the influenza virus. In most cases, the flu results in a relatively mild illness. In some cases, however, influenza can cause serious life-threatening complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 300,000 people are hospitalized with flu symptoms every year. Most of the time, these people are very young, very old or have existing health issues. In some cases, however, even very healthy people can have life-threatening reactions to the flu. This is why it’s so important to get vaccinated against the influenza virus every year.
When they contract the flu, most people experience several unpleasant symptoms, including:
• Sore throat
• Sweats and chills
• Headache
• Muscle aches
• Weakness and fatigue
• Nasal congestion
• Dry, persistent cough
• A fever over 100.4 F (38 C)
• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Most healthy people can expect to recover from the flu within about two weeks. On the other hand, if you experience any of the following, you should see a doctor:
• Shortness of breath
• Sharp pain in the chest when breathing
• Severe earache
• A fever over 103 degrees Fahrenheit
• Severe lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
You should also visit your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors which may leave you more vulnerable to complications:
• You are pregnant.
• You are over 65 or under 5 years of age.
• You have a weakened immune system due to infections, medications or cancer treatments.
• You have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, neuromuscular disease, emphysema, emphysema liver, kidney or blood disease.
• You are an Alaska Native or American Indian.
• You live in a long-term care facility.
• Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or greater.
If you do have any of these risk factors, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, such as zanamivir (Relenza) or oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

Health News + Events

What to Expect When You Book a Telehealth Virtual Visit

PhysicianOne Urgent Care—a leading immediate care provider that’s been serving patients since 2008—is pleased to offer telemedicine services to patients across Connecticut, M  Read More

Why Choose PhysicianOne Urgent Care for Telehealth?

PhysicianOne Urgent Care is proud to offer a convenient way for individuals in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts to receive top-notch medical care without leaving home: our  Read More

What Can Be Treated With a Telehealth Virtual Visit?

Telehealth is an emerging field that became vitally important during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a super-spreading virus, it became more crucial than ever for doctors and patients  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.4
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY