Cold and flu season - Who you gonna call?
If it seems like the cold and flu are going around, it’s not just in your head – WebMD predicted this year’s cold and flu season to hit the Atlantic and Southeast regions the hardest.
Cold or Flu?
While many symptoms of a cold and the flu are similar, such as a stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing, there are some differences. Dr. Mark Weisman with Sentara Medical Group notes “A high fever (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) is rarely present with a cold, but is more common with the flu.” He adds “Other signs that you may be battling the dreaded flu include a headache, fatigue, exhaustion and feeling achy.” Colds usually present with less severe symptoms and don’t leave you feeling as tired or zapped of energy as the flu can.
And, don’t assume because you had a flu shot that it can’t be the flu. While it’s always good to get a flu shot, especially for young children, seniors and those with lowered immune systems, they don’t prevent every strain of the flu.
At-home and OTC Remedies
There are a number of over-the-counter remedies doctors recommend to battle the symptoms of cold and flu.
“DayQuil and NyQuil are two of my favorites,” stated Dr. Weisman. “I’m also a fan of Afrin Nasal Spray and Mucinex is best when you’re having trouble getting thick mucus up. There is also increasing evidence that Zicam is effective at shortening the duration of a cold if taken early and often enough.”
Of course, a steamy shower and hot tea with lemon and honey are long-standing favorites for battling congested nasal passages and a sore throat. Gargling with warm salt water and placing hot packs on your sinuses also may be helpful. And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids – doing so keeps you hydrated and can help break up congestion.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re unsure whether it’s a cold or the flu, or you’ve been experiencing cold symptoms for more than 10 days, you should consult a doctor. If your regular physician is too busy to fit you in, give Sentara MDLIVE a try as a quick alternative. You can schedule a video or phone appointment with a U.S. board-certified doctor and be back on the road to recovery in no time. Virtual appointments are often scheduled within minutes of registration and are available 24/7.
Log on or call 1-800-335-4836 to get started.