Is it the Flu or a Cold? - Addison Internal Medicine

You might have noticed the sudden change in the weather. The warm weather is fading into the cool crisp tinge of fall. Many people are noticing that the change of weather is causing runny noses and sore throats. For some they caught a nasty cough. The question we get a lot is, “Is this a cold or is it the flu”?

Cold Vs. Flu

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but the viruses that cause them are very different. When you have a cold you will likely have a runny nose, maybe a sore throat. When you have the flu your symptoms are typically much more intense and are accompanied by a fever and body aches that can last for days.

What Season is it?

While colds are most likely to occur during the winter months, they occur any season. The flu however has a season. That season typically runs from November through March.

What Can I Do?

Whether you have the cold or flu virus, to help yourself feel better you should get plenty of rest and drink clear liquids. Other treatments depend on your symptoms.


If you do have the flu you are encouraged to stay home and away from others, especially the very young and very old who are more susceptible to the flu. The virus is highly contagious.

If you are sick, there is no real downside to seeking care from one of our internists. If you do in fact have the flu, the antiviral drugs that can help people with the flu work better if they are prescribed early on. They will not cure the flu but can minimize the length of time you feel bad.

Don’t Get the Flu

To avoid getting the flu you should first and foremost wash your hands and do it often. Another way to increase your chances of avoiding getting the flu is to get a flu vaccine. Our clinics are offering flu shots while supplies last. Come out to either our Addison clinic or our Carrollton clinic for a flu shot.