|SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS||COLD||FLU||TREATMENT|
|Fever, chills||Low fever, chills rare||Fever may be high. Chills are normal.||Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil) every 6 hr|
|Headache||Rare||Usually, described often as “behind the eyes”||Same as above.|
|General aches and pains||Mild or absent||Usual, may be severe, affects the entire body||Same as above, extra rest|
|Fatigue, weakness||Mild or absent||Usually, may be severe.||Extra rest. Vitamin C 1000mg per day may be helpful.|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||Occasionally||Sinus decongestant|
|Sore throat||Common||Sometimes||Ice cold liquids every hour to decrease inflammation. Gargling with warm salt water may also help. Pain relievers such as Ibuprofen are also helpful.|
|Cough||Mild to moderate; hacking cough||Common; may be severe||Robitussin DM or its equivalent. (Check labels closely to avoid combination drugs. Cough syrups often contain pain medicine or decongestants). A cool air humidifier. Inhale the steam during a shower. Avoid cigarette smoke.|
Extra rest and fluids are very important to aid in the recovery of both colds and flu. Be sure to get as much rest as possible and a minimum of 64 ounces (approx 2 liters) of non-caffeinated fluids daily.
Antibiotics are not helpful in treating colds and influenza. These are caused by viruses and antibiotics only kill bacteria. Therefore, treatment is aimed at symptom relief when you are suffering from a cold or flu.
When to seek medical care
- Fever > 100 degrees F for more than 3 days.
- Stiff neck. (You can't bend your chin forward to touch your chest).
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Pain in the upper right area of the abdomen.
- A sore throat that is bright red or has white spots.
- A cough with shortness of breath, chest tightness, or wheezing, chest pain, or difficulty sleeping or lying down due to the cough.
- Nasal congestion, which is not improving using the recommended treatments.
- Symptoms that are not improving after 7-10 days or persist longer than 2 weeks.