Here's a list of signs or symptoms you're most likely to have with colds, allergies or flu:
Seek Professional Advice
Always seek the advice of your health care practitioner if you become ill. Providing a list of symptoms, their severity and onset will be helpful in diagnosing the ailment. Don't try to diagnose yourself even if you have a medical degree!
If you’re not sure if you have a cold, flu or allergies, visit us as Jupiter Medical Center’s Urgent Care Center where one of our skilled healthcare providers can get you the answer you need to get back to good health. Walks-ins welcome. Hours are: Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information, call (561) 263-7010.
Flu Hits Hard and Fast
The flu will come on very suddenly and quickly. It hits hard and fast! A cold can be slow to evolve and run a course of up to two weeks. Allergies can mimic a cold, but they can last a lot longer, particularly if the allergen is not removed. Allergy symptoms don't progress (e.g. from a scratchy throat to a full blown sore throat).
One Symptom Will Stand Out
Usually one sign or symptom stands out and will differentiate the ailment. Itchy, watery eyes usually mean allergy. If you have facial pain or your upper teeth hurt, it's usually a sinus infection and you need to see your practitioner. A sinus infection, unlike colds, allergies or the flu, will need antibiotics. A sinus infection can result from a cold or a prolonged battle with nasal allergies. A sore throat from a cold can develop into an earache or strep throat which requires antibiotics.
Oh No It's the Flu!
If your symptoms come on suddenly and quickly worsen, you probably have the flu. Flu can start with a scratchy throat that quickly develops into a sore throat and/or hacking cough. Intense muscle aches and pains are usually the biggest clue that it's the flu. If you feel like you've been run over by a truck, call your doctor. You will most likely also have a fever and a throbbing headache. The symptoms usually dissipate in ten days to two weeks, but you can continue to have a bothersome hacking cough and feel fatigued for weeks. The flu virus medications if started in the first 2-3 days, will help to reduce the duration of your symptoms, but they are not a cure.
Other preventative measures include frequent hand washing, avoiding crowds, healthy eating habits, getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids. If someone is coughing or sneezing near you remind them to cover their nose or mouth and to wash their hands.
Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, hair. Wash your hands frequently especially after using a tissue, coughing or sneezing, and using the bathroom. Keep surfaces in your home clean such as counters, hand rails, doorknobs, telephones, computer keyboards and mice to reduce spreading of germs.
Don't shake hands with someone if you are they are coughing or sneezing. Politely say you're happy to meet or see them, but you don't want to spread your germs.
Allergies can be helped by keeping surfaces clean especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Scrub and remove mold and mildew. Encase bedding in allergy-proof covers. Remove or avoid offending plants and animals as possible.