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Flu Symptoms

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Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Differentiating between a cold and flu may be difficult. Cold symptoms are nearly always less severe than those of the flu.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever None or low grade Common and high (102 - 104 °F); lasts 3 - 4 days
Headache None or mild Almost always present
General aches and pains Mild, if they occur at all Often severe
Fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness Mild, it they occur at all Extreme exhaustion is early and severe; can last 2 - 3 weeks
Stuffy nose Nearly always Sometimes
Sneezing Very common Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort and cough Mild-to-moderate, hacking cough Common, can be severe
Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

If You Possibly Have the Flu

Several available tests can isolate and identify the viruses responsible for some respiratory infections. They are generally not needed, since most cases of the flu virus are self-evident.

Decisions about treatment are almost always made based on how sick an individual is, and whether the person is at risk for more severe complications. If a doctor believes a diagnosis would help, samples using a swab should be taken from the nasal passages or throat within 4 days of the first symptoms.

A nasopharyngeal culture is a test used to identify disease-causing organisms in nasal secretions.

Several rapid tests for the flu can produce results in less than 30 minutes, but vary on the specific strain or strains that they can detect. They are not as accurate as a viral culture, however, in which the virus is reproduced in the laboratory. Culture results can take between 3 and 10 days. Blood tests can also document the infection several weeks after symptoms appear.




 


Walgreens: Vaccines subject to availability and immunizing professionals on duty. State, age and health-condition related restrictions apply. Other vaccines may be available. See the pharmacy for details.

Take Care: Vaccines subject to availability and immunizing professionals on duty. State, age and health-condition related restrictions apply. Other vaccines may be available. See clinic for details. Patient care services provided by Take Care Health Services?, an independently-owned professional corporation.

Medicare Part B: Medicare Part B generally covers one flu vaccine per beneficiary per flu season.