When the weather turns cold, it’s common for people to fall ill with a fever and the flu. Although many people contract colds and flu, they have very different effects on the body. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you figure out whether you have the flu so you can start getting treatment.

What’s the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Both colds and the flu are viral infections that affect the respiratory system. However, the two differ in their impacts. A cold is a minor illness that causes a range of symptoms, including runny nose, cough, sore throat and slight fever. While these symptoms are similar to the flu, a cold lasts a week at most. The flu is much more severe, with the same typical symptoms as a cold and a few more. The flu can last from a few days to a few weeks.  

What’s the Flu?

The flu is a respiratory infection that has a sudden and harsh impact on one’s health. If the flu lingers in the body for too long, it can cause larger problems. Some people who catch the flu run the risk of developing pneumonia as well. Pneumonia is the most dangerous complication of the flu. It can be life-threatening to young children and older adults.

Other infections can develop from the flu, too. Sinus infections and ear infections are complications that cause pain and require medication for treatment. 

Stages of the Flu

The day before the flu hits your body, you can already be contagious. Once the first day comes, you will wake up sick, or you’ll gradually start to feel sick as the day progresses. You could feel a variety of symptoms, from a headache and chills to a sore throat or fatigue. Loss of appetite is also common.

On the second and third days, you may suffer from a fever and need to get all the rest you can. A normal body temperature for someone who has the flu is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s vital to drink vitamin- and mineral-rich fluids during this stage. Days four and five should be more comfortable. You won’t have fully recovered, but you should be able to stay awake longer and begin to crave simple foods like toast and bananas.

Days six and seven are the days to get back into a routine. Maybe you can do some laundry or change your bedsheets. Some will attempt to return to work. It’s important to stay home until you feel well, though.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

You can help ease many of the symptoms of the flu with by resting, eating healthy food, and drinking plenty of fluids. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Congestion.
  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.

There are also a few symptoms that you should watch out for in case of an emergency. These symptoms include:

  • Continually rising fever.
  • Severe muscle pains.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Persistent chest pain.

If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help right away.

Let Nova Health Help Protect You Against Fever and Flu

Nova Health offers urgent care and primary care services for you and your family. Our team of medical staff brings quality care and attention to each patient. With us, you get affordable, accessible medical care from a compassionate group of health care workers.

You can make an appointment online or walk into a nearby clinic today! We also offer telemedicine visits for patient needs.