Cold v. Flu

January 9, 2018

Runny nose. Muscle aches. Fever. Is it a cold or the flu?

Dr. Katrina Burke, family medicine physician at Mercy Clinic Fort Scott offers these tips to help you distinguish the difference between a cold and the flu.

“Flu is usually a sudden onset,” Burke explains. “Headaches, muscle aches, tiredness/weakness and exhaustion are common and often severe with the flu.”

“A fever is possible with both colds and the flu, but a temperature of 102 or above in children and adults that last 3 to 4 days is common with the flu,” she adds.

“A cold typically worsens over a day or two.  Adults seldom have a fever with a cold. Infants and young children may have a fever with a cold but the fever usually subsides within a couple days.”

The best way to prevent the flu is good hand hygiene and getting the flu vaccine. If you become sick, stay at home, use over-the-counter medication for a fever and drink lots of water.

If you have questions, visit your Mercy provider or Mercy Convenient Care located at 1624 S. National in Fort Scott.


Katrina Birke, MD

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