Flu and Cold Symptoms and Treatment

We are committed to keeping you healthy no matter the circumstance. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, we recommend getting checked by a health care provider as soon as possible. Oftentimes, the key to fast flu and cold recovery is early intervention. Whether you visit our urgent care at one of our clinics or through a virtual telehealth visit, we are here to support your recovery.

Please note, to help prevent the spread of illness, Banner Urgent Care is now offering Banner Urgent Care – Non-Respiratory Locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Northern Colorado. Like all Banner Urgent Care locations, these particular locations are open to the general public, offering treatment for most common illnesses and non-emergent injuries. However, Banner Urgent Care – non-respiratory locations are not intended to treat patients with respiratory complaints such as COVID-19.

What Is the Flu?

The flu or influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a viral infection. The virus attacks the lungs, nose and throat and causes mild to severe symptoms.

The flu is most often spread through tiny droplets created when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets of moisture contain the infection. Infection occurs when the droplets are transferred to another person through the air or by transfer contact such as touching a surface with contagious particles and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. The influenza virus can live on surfaces up to 24 hours after contact.

Children are more susceptible to contracting the flu, however, people of all ages can be infected.

Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu typically appear about two days after infection and last an average of 1-4 days.

Common flu symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny and/or stuffy nose
  • Muscle and/or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It’s also important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

Flu Treatment

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting an annual flu vaccination. You can visit Banner Urgent care for a flu shot. 

The CDC also recommends preventative measures that include:

  • Avoiding people who are sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Washing hands frequently

If you become sick with the flu, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications to help your recovery. Oftentimes these antiviral medications are most effective at the early onset of symptoms. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, make a reservation as soon as possible.

Wondering if urgent care can test for the flu? Our doctors and urgent care providers can perform a flu test and provide you with the best course of treatment.

What Is a Cold?

A cold is a common viral illness that can be caused by many different viruses. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, but you should see a doctor if your cold symptoms do not improve within a few weeks. You can visit urgent care to address your cold symptoms should you decide to seek treatment.

Colds are spread either through the air or from transferred secretions from an infected person.

Cold Symptoms

Colds and the flu can have common symptoms, but there are some important distinctions to note. Colds are generally milder than the flu, and people who have colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

Generally, symptoms of a cold begin approximately 2 days after infection and can last about 3-7 days.

Common cold symptoms include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Mild fever
  • Mild headache

While there are no specific tests for colds, your doctor may recommend a flu test to rule out influenza.

Cold Treatment

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many ways to relieve the symptoms, such as:

  • Taking over-the-counter medication like cough syrups, decongestants and antihistamines
  • Using saline nasal sprays
  • Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier
  • Sipping hot liquid to soothe your throat

It’s also important for you to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

If someone you know or are in close contact with is sick, you can prevent a cold by:

  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Covering coughs or sneezes
  • Disinfecting shared surfaces
  • Taking care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating healthy foods and preventing stress

If your cold symptoms persist or worsen, make an appointment with your doctor or visit one of our urgent care locations.