Woman whose symptoms could be cold vs flu

When it comes to cold vs flu, Ohio residents may find themselves wondering whether they’re dealing with a common cold or a more severe influenza virus. Knowing the signs and symptoms of each will help you take the steps to get on the path to recovery sooner.

At Mount Carmel Urgent Care, we’re committed to helping Ohio residents quickly diagnose and treat colds and flu in January and throughout the year. In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between these two illnesses and explain why you should seek care at Mount Carmel Urgent Care if you’re experiencing symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about cold vs flu, so you can take action right away if symptoms arise.

What Is a Cold Virus?

A cold is a viral infection caused by a family of viruses known as rhinoviruses. This common illness primarily affects the nose and throat, leading to a range of symptoms that typically include a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. Although uncomfortable, colds are usually mild and resolve on their own within a week or two.

Understanding Flu Viruses

An influenza infection, commonly known as the flu, is caused by an influenza virus. It’s typically a more serious illness than a cold, and it can affect the entire respiratory system, including the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Flu symptoms can be severe and potentially life-threatening, especially in high-risk groups such as the elderly, young children, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

Cold vs Flu: What Ohio Residents Should Know

When comparing cold vs flu, Ohio residents should understand how the symptoms can vary between the two. The following symptom lists can help in determining which illness you may have.

Cold Symptoms

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mild fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Mild cough
  • Gradual onset of symptoms

Flu Symptoms

  • High fever
  • Severe fatigue
  • Body aches and chills
  • Dry cough
  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • Possible complications like pneumonia

While some symptoms appear to overlap between the two — such as fatigue and cough  — the flu versions are typically more severe. If you are not sure whether you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms, seeking a diagnosis from a trained medical professional can help.

When Should I Seek Care for Cold or Flu Symptoms?

When dealing with cold or flu symptoms, knowing when to seek medical attention can make all the difference in your recovery process. If you have a cold, typically characterized by a runny nose, mild cough, and sneezing, you may not need immediate medical attention. 

However, if your symptoms persist for more than a week, intensify, or are accompanied by high fever, severe headache, or other worrying symptoms, seek medical assistance. Additionally, flu symptoms such as high fever, muscle aches, severe fatigue, and dry cough should prompt a timely visit to your nearest urgent care.

Are You Experiencing Cold or Flu Symptoms in Ohio?

While both the common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses and present distinct symptoms. Understanding the difference between cold vs flu can help Ohio residents make informed decisions about their health.

If you’re unsure about your symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit Mount Carmel Urgent Care. Come by one of our Grove City or Columbus locations for fast, effective care near you. Walk-ins are always welcome, but you can also check-in ahead of your visit to save your place in line. If you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms, you deserve relief. Prioritize your well-being and check-in at Mount Carmel Urgent Care today.