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Cold and Flu Season Has Arrived! 
January 12, 2015

These viruses are very contagious and really have no cure. The best thing you can do when you have a virus is to stay home and get plenty of rest and fluids. But, how do you know if you have the flu or just a common cold? Here are some clues to help:

Signs you may have the common cold:

  • Usually starts mildly with a sore throat for a day or two.
  • Runny nose and/or congestion (mucus starts out clear and thin and may get thicker and darker/colored. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it has progressed to a bacterial or sinus infection.
  • Cough may develop by the third to fifth day.
  • Fever is uncommon in adults or may be low-grade. However, children are more likely to have fever with a cold.
  • Symptoms can last for up to a week and you are contagious in the first three days.
  • If symptoms last longer than a week, seek medical attention because you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.

Signs you may have the flu:

  • More severe symptoms that come on quickly.
  • Sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches/soreness, congestion and cough. Some flu strains may even present with vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Extreme exhaustion early in the illness. Fatigue can last for two to three weeks.
  • A common complication of the flu is pneumonia, especially in the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems.
  • Antiviral drugs for flu, started within 48 hours, are not required for treatment, but may somewhat relieve the symptoms and help you recover up to a day sooner than you might without the medication.
  • You are contagious beginning one day BEFORE you have symptoms, up to five to seven days after having symptoms. The generally accepted time frame to return to work/school is five days after the start of symptoms, or after being fever free for 24 hours, whichever time frame is LONGER.

Remember, practice frequent hand washing; stay away for those who are sick; and stay home when you are sick!