If you or someone in your household is sick, it’s important to determine how serious the illness is so you know how to proceed. If it’s merely a cold or cough, for example, drinking plenty of fluids and taking it easy for a few days may be all that’s needed to facilitate recovery. If it’s the flu, on the other hand, it may be necessary to visit a walk-in clinic for medical intervention. While only a physician can provide an accurate diagnosis, knowing the signs and symptoms of each will ensure you know when to seek care.
How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold, a Cough, & the Flu
1. Symptoms of a Cold
A cold is a minor respiratory infection caused by a virus. Symptoms include sore throat, congestion, mild fatigue, and some body aches. These symptoms typically develop gradually and are rarely debilitating or accompanied by a fever. The common cold lasts for one to two weeks.
2. Symptoms of a Cough
A cough can be caused by all kinds of conditions, including allergies, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Dry coughs are indicative of allergies, while wet ones might be a sign of pneumonia or bronchitis. Whether you should visit a walk-in clinic depends on the severity of the cough and any accompanying symptoms. For example, chest pain and fever are likely if you have pneumonia, while wheezing and shortness of breath are indicative of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Treatment will ultimately depend on the underlying cause of the cough.
3. Symptoms of the Flu
The flu tends to come on quickly, and its symptoms are more severe than those of a mild cold or cough. They typically include nausea and vomiting, fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, headaches, congestion, and fatigue. You may also develop a dry, hacking cough. If you think you have the flu, it is wise to seek care. There is no specific treatment for the flu—although some patients benefit from antiviral medications—but your provider can relieve the worst of the symptoms and monitor you for any complications.
If you or a loved one falls ill this winter, turn to Taylor Regional Hospital Walk-In Clinic for diagnosis and treatment. Located in Campbellsville, KY, this practice specializes in family medicine. Their friendly providers can treat everything from asthma to influenza. They have appointments available seven days a week and gladly accept walk-ins for total convenience. To explore all the services they provide, visit their website. To discuss your concerns with a member of their staff and determine whether you should stop by their walk-in clinic, call (270) 849-2379.