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Health Education Blog

Basic Differences Between a Cold, Flu and Allergies

Posted by Staff on June 02, 2017

When you feel rather dreadful and have the sniffles, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and maybe a sore throat, how do you know if you have a cold, the flue, or allergies? It can be hard to tell them apart because many times they follow the same course and similar symptoms. However, understanding them individually can lead to better decisions, choice of treatment, and whether or not you need to visit a health care clinic.cartoon of girl with allergies flu and cold ThinkstockPhotos-648627578.jpg

Cold or Flu?

Separate viruses can cause the flu and colds. The flu symptoms can be quite serious – as with the recent Norovirus outbreak in Northern California communities.

Whether it’s a cold or the flu a visit to Orchard Hospital’s Medical Specialty Center—Your Everyday Health Care Clinic may depend on the severity of your symptoms – or just help to put your mind at ease.

Both of these illnesses involve the respiratory system and can cause congestion, cough, runny or stuffy nose, or sore throat. The common cold is a self-limiting infectious ailment which is caused by several different variants of viruses. Another term most commonly used in the medical community is a viral upper respiratory tract infection.

The flu can lead to a high-grade fever that can last for several days which can be a point of concern. Flu may also lead to more severe symptoms than that of a cold such as: fatigue, headache, generalized aches and pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These types of symptoms are somewhat mild or absent when you suffer from a cold.  

Age matters

It’s important to understand that the age of the person matters when it comes to many sicknesses. The elderly may present with a different set of symptoms for a common cold, flu or allergy as compared to a child. This is due to several factors such as level of immunity, other diseases present at the time of diagnoses such as pneumonia, Asthma, and COPD, etc.

Therefore, it would be wise for an older adult to seek medical attention when such a sickness occurs since it may hide a serious underlying condition such as pneumonia.

Rule out allergies

As the symptoms of cold or allergies are rather confusing it is wise to know your body well. If you get frequent episodes at the same time every year, then you most likely have seasonal allergies that can be managed with at-home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Unless your symptoms worsen, such as difficulty breathing or high-grade fever, a lot of the symptoms associated with cold or allergies can be managed with plenty of rest, fluids, and OTC remedies.

It’s wise to discuss with your primary care doctor whether to get a consult from an allergist. Since an allergist can run an allergy panel at the intake visit to see what factors are responsible for your allergies. Some people are allergic to their animals or carpets or certain plants in general. Once it’s decided, you get a copy of your allergy test results, and you can start to improve your life from there. Having the knowledge helps you take a step in the right direction.

Should you visit a health care clinic?

Though the symptoms of the cold or flu are disguised at times, it can be hard to tell unless you visit a health care clinic.

To sum it up, some people in this world will visit a health care center for just about anything, but then there are others who will wait until the very last moment to seek medical attention. Also, in the USA health insurances play a major role in determining who gets medical care and who has out of pocket expenses.

You know your body best, so if anything seems out of the ordinary, and it isn’t going away with rest, liquids and OTC medicines, don’t hesitate to visit a health care clinic.

Orchard Hospital offers various resources to the communities of Gridley and Oroville, especially the walk-in medical clinic services, as well as other programs that the community can use. We encourage you to visit us, even if it will just give you peace of mind. 

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior health care. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.

Topics: Cold and Flu, Allergies, Healthcare Clinic

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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