Know the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

COVID-19 Resources
For more information about COVID-19, visit coronavirus.uwhealth.org
Not every infectious disease, such as a cold or the flu, can be treated by your health care provider. By knowing the various symptoms and treatment solutions, you can avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor. You’ll also be able to identify conditions that need medical attention.
 
Influenza
 
Symptoms
 
A sudden onset of any of the following: 
Fever lasting 3-4 days about 102-104°
Sore throat
Headache
Runny or stuffy nose
Cough
Chills
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (tiredness)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, and is more common in children
Treatment 
Stay home except to get medical care.
Contact your health care provider right away if you are at high risk, antiviral drugs may be a treatment option.
Drink plenty of fluids, dehydration can increase a fever.
Get plenty of rest.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. For children, ask your health care provider for the correct type and dose for your child’s age and weight.
Use a cool mist vaporizer or take a hot, steamy shower.
Isolate at home until your fever is gone for at least 24 hours, except to get medical care.
Wear a face covering around other people.
When to See a Physician 
If you are at high risk of flu complications, including young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women or have a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
If you develop shortness of breath, painful breathing, ear pain, facial pain or a bad sore throat.
If you get better, then get worse again.
Colds
 
Symptoms 
 
A gradual onset of symptoms of any of the following that last about 1-2 weeks:
Low-grade fever (above 98.6° F but lower than 100.4° F)
Sore throat
Headache
Runny or stuffy nose
Dry cough or wet cough without wheezing or rapid breathing
Mild general body aches
Red eyes
Sneezing
Treatment 
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Get plenty of rest.
Use over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays for nose congestion.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. For children, ask your health care provider for the correct type and dose for your child’s age and weight.
Drink warm liquids to soothe and ease congestion.
Honey may help coughs in adults and children who are one year or older.
When to See a Physician 
If you have signs of pneumonia, bronchitis or other upper respiratory complications, including increased coughing, difficulty breathing, high fever, ear pain, facial pain or chest pain.
If you have symptoms that continue beyond one or two weeks.
COVID-19
 
Symptoms 
 
One or more of the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, with the average being 5 days:
Fever (100â?¦F or higher)
Sore throat
Headache
Runny or stuffy nose
Cough
Chills
Muscle or body aches
Severe fatigue (tiredness)
Shortness of breath/chest tightness (for those under 12 years old – increased work to breathe)
Loss of taste or smell
For children under 12 years old, symptoms may include:
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea
Poor feeding/appetite
Plus at least one respiratory symptom
Treatment 
Stay home except to get medical care.
If symptoms get worse, contact your health care provider immediately.
Drink plenty of fluids, dehydration can increase a fever.
Get plenty of rest.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. For children, ask your health care provider for the correct type and dose for your child’s age and weight.
Isolate in a specific room and away from other people at home. If possible, use a separate bathroom.
Wear a face covering around other people.
Stay in touch with your health care provider. Call before you go in for medical care.
When to See a Physician 
 
If you think you or your child may have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, contact your health care provider. If you or your child is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Trouble breathing
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face
Strep Throat
 
Symptoms 
 
Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria and the following symptoms usually start very quickly:
Fever
Sore throat
Headache
Swollen glands in the neck
Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
Some people develop a rash
Some people may have stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, and is more common in children
Treatment 
If you think you or your child have strep throat do not attempt home treatment, contact your health care provider immediately.
A simple rapid strep test or throat culture from a clinic can determine if group A strep is the cause.
Health care providers treat strep throat with antibiotics.  Complete all prescribed medications in full.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the pain. For children, ask your health care provider for the correct type and dose for your child’s age and weight.
Gargle with saltwater to help relieve pain.
Sip warm beverages, cold beverages and frozen treats to help relieve pain.
When to See a Physician 
If your child has symptoms of strep throat, especially if someone in your family or in your child’s school has recently had a strep infection.
When you or your child develop any of the symptoms associated with strep throat (see above).
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
 
Symptoms 
 
The following symptoms can appear 2 to 8 days after contact with RSV:
High fever (can be low-grade over age 3)
Sore throat (typical from age 3 – adult)
Headache
Stuffy or runny nose
Severe cough and/or wheezing*
Shortness of breath or very fast rate of breathing*
Bluish color of the lips or fingernails*
Lethargy, irritability or listlessness*
Lack of appetite/poor feeding
Apnea*
*typical for infants younger than age 3 
 
Treatment 
Drink plenty of fluids
Use a cool mist vaporizer
Use saline nose drops
Use non-aspirin fever medicine
Wash hands frequently/avoid touching face/eyes
Avoid public areas during RSV outbreaks
Get plenty of rest 
When to See a Physician 
 
Your child should see a physician if they:
Have moderate difficulty breathing indicated by breathing 40-60 times per minute
Tire quickly during feeding/loss of appetite
Are struggling to breathe or wheezing
Have an unusual color. Skin becomes slightly gray or lacelike purple and pale while tongue, gums and lips remain pink.
Are excessively tired and lack appetite
Are less than 3 months old and have a fever greater than 100.4°
Show signs of dehydration