Earlier this week we showed you the best ways to boost your immune system in order to prepare for the cold and flu season that will quickly be here.

But, what if you already have the characteristic sniffles, headache and sore throat? Is it a cold or the flu? How you go about taking care of yourself is dependent on a proper diagnosis. So, before you head down to the urgent care Las Vegas NV trusts for all winter ailments, check your symptoms against this helpful guide.

The Common Cold

This is a seasonal respiratory infection that is responsible for more missed days of work and school than any other illness. It is most often caused by the rhinovirus. This super contagious bug is what causes people to sneeze and spread the germ like wildfire.

You can pick up the bug by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching a surface that had recently been sneezed or coughed on by an infected individual. If you get a cold, you are likely to experience the following symptoms in a mild to moderate degree:

  • sore throat
  • runny and/or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • slight fever
  • cough
  • aches in the head or body
  • tiredness

If you feel a cold coming on, stay home and rest. the rhinovirus is most contagious during the first three days. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and use over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants to help fight the symptoms. You can also try natural remedies like zinc, vitamin C or echinacea. If the cold doesn’t clear up in a few days, you may have something worse than a cold. Head to the nearest emergency care Las Vegas families rely on to get checked out.

You can avoid a cold altogether by staying away from sick people and not sharing personal items during cold and flu season. It is also smart to wash your hands often and carry hand sanitizer just in case you pick something up. Get lots of rest and make sure you are eating the right immune boosting foods.

The Flu

This is a much more serious winter-time illness that tends to turn into pneumonia when present in kids, elderly and pregnant women. This seasonal illness is caused by the viruses influenza A and B. You can catch the flu the same way you catch a cold. If you do come down with the flu, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • sore throat caused by a dry, hacking cough
  • fever or chills
  • aches anywhere in the body, muscles or head
  • stuffy and runny nose
  • extreme and lasting fatigue
  • diarrhea and vomiting, most common in children

Just like with a cold, you want to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids if you get the flu. You can control your symptoms with over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers to keep the illness from developing into pneumonia.

Just to be safe, you want to watch out for any of the following symptoms. If you experience these, there is a good chance your flu is worsening and becoming pneumonia.

  • difficulty breathing
  • green mucus after a cough
  • high fever
  • severe sore throat

If you are caring for a child, watch for the following:

  • difficulty breathing
  • irritability
  • lack of eating or drinking
  • hard time walking or interacting with people

The absolute best way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu shot. The influenza viruses adapt and mutate so it is necessary to get another shot each year. For the best results, head down to the urgent care Las Vegas NV residents visit most in September. By getting the shot at the beginning of the cold and flu season, you significantly increase your chances of prevention.

For more information about the urgent care Las Vegas NV residents love, contact 702.852.2000.

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