What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The common cold and the flu, or influenza, are both respiratory illnesses, and they share many of the same symptoms. They originate from different viruses, however, and the flu usually makes you feel much worse than a common cold.
Left untreated, the flu can lead to serious complications like pneumonia or inflammation in your heart, muscles, and brain. The flu can also make your existing health problems worse, like chronic heart disease or asthma. If you show signs of the flu, it is important to come in for treatment.
How do I know if I have the flu?
Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, but a cold tends to build gradually over a few days. Some common flu symptoms to look out for include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Body aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Anyone can come down with the flu, but certain populations are at an elevated risk of complications. Those groups include children younger than five, adults older than 65, and anyone with diabetes, asthma, or heart disease.
What can be done to treat the flu?
When you come into Chicago Immediate Care with flu symptoms, the first step involves assessing your condition. Rapid flu diagnostics tests can provide results in around 15 minutes, and it is one of many tools used to detect influenza.
Depending on your symptoms and your overall health, your treatment plan might include oral medications designed to fight the viral infection. These medications can shorten the time you will experience flu symptoms, but only if they are taken within a few days of coming down with the flu.
You will also receive customized instructions on how to care for yourself once you return home. Getting plenty of fluids and giving your body a chance to rest can make a world of difference in how you feel as you fight off the flu.
If you suspect you or a loved one has flu symptoms, come in right away for a walk-in visit at Chicago Immediate Care. There is no need to call ahead or schedule an appointment, and you will get the care you need as quickly as possible. If you would like to take steps to prevent the flu, flu shots are also available at Chicago Immediate Care.