Cold and flu season is here again. Everywhere you go, you are likely to run into people with runny noses who are coughing, sneezing, and generally complaining about overall aches and pains. While relief can often be found in getting rest and taking over-the-counter medicines, how do you know when you require more serious testing and treatment? At CCOM Medical Group, we offer urgent care treatment either by appointment or at our walk-in clinic. Understanding the difference between the cold and flu and being alert to potentially dangerous symptoms can help you determine when symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor.

The Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that both the cold and the flu are illnesses impacting the respiratory system, with similar symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny noses, and body aches. While this makes it difficult to tell them apart without medical testing, cold symptoms in general tend to be less severe. Indicators that your illness might be a more serious case of the flu include sore throat, fever and chills, feeling excessively fatigued, and nausea, vomiting, or digestive problems.

These symptoms are nothing to take lightly, as the flu can be potentially life threatening. Children, pregnant women, people over the age of 65, and those suffering from chronic medical conditions are all at increased risk for flu complications. These include:

  • Respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia;
  • Aggravation of existing conditions such as asthma, heart, or lung disease;
  • Inflammation of the heart, brain, or body tissues;
  • Sepsis, which is a type of blood poisoning that is potentially fatal and requires immediate and urgent medical care.

Health.com also warns that some symptoms associated with the cold or flu are the same as those due to conditions such as strep throat, meningitis, and mononucleosis. If you have been sick with a sore throat more than three or four days, suffer ongoing fevers, or are experiencing even mild difficulties in breathing, this requires urgent medical care. Contact the CCOM Medical Group at our office or visit our walk-in clinic today.