The Flu

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

 

Although they may have similar symptoms, the flu (influenza) and the common cold are caused by different viruses. Though both are viral infections, the flu is generally considered more serious. Because they are both caused by viral infections rather than bacterial ones, antibiotics will not help.

So how do you know if you or a loved one has a cold or the flu? In general, the flu is more severe than the common cold because it poses a greater risk of complications, including pneumonia, bacterial infection or hospitalization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer guidelines on determining the difference between a cold and the flu.

A cold is typically less severe and is accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose. Symptoms of the flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (unusual tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu.

Cold Signs and Symptoms Flu Signs and Symptoms
Symptom onset

Gradual

Abrupt

Fever

Rare

Usual

Aches

Slight

Usual

Chills

Uncommon

Fairly common

Fatigue, weakness

Sometimes

Usual

Sneezing

Common

Sometimes

Stuffy nose

Common

Sometimes

Sore throat

Common

Sometimes

Chest discomfort, cough

Mild to moderate 

Common

Headache

Rare

Common

Urgent Care at Washington Hospital

If you or your loved one is having a medical emergency, call 911. If cold or flu symptoms are severe enough that you need to seek medical attention, please visit your closest Urgent Care facility.

At Washington Hospital, our urgent care services are tailored to meet the immediate health care needs of you and your family. With shorter wait times and lower cost than typical emergency care, it’s equipped to handle minor emergencies and illnesses from sprains and fractures to cold and flu.

Washington Hospital Urgent Care

2500 Mowry Ave., suite 212

Washington West Building, 2nd Floor

Fremont, CA 94538

Open daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p. m.

Some appointments available; walk-ins are welcome.

For more information, call 510.791.2273 or visit the Washington Hospital website.