Cold and flu season is here

October 22, 2014

By Staff

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NEW — 3:40 p.m. Oct. 22, 2014

Thorough hand washing is your best defense. Now is the time to review good hand washing practices with children, and if your diligence has slipped, it is time to recommit.

The common cold and the flu are different illnesses caused by different viruses, but they share similar symptoms. Both can cause cough, sore throat, sneezing, fever, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills, tiredness, diarrhea and vomiting. In fact, it can be difficult even for doctors to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

Which symptoms you get and how ill you feel will vary depending on many things, including your general health, how long you’ve been sick and whether you also have a bacterial infection (such as sinusitis, ear infection, or pneumonia).

If you have concerns about whether you have the flu — especially if you have a chronic health condition — talk to your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral medicines can help prevent serious health problems from the flu, but they work best if you take them within 48 hours of the first flu symptoms.

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have a chronic health condition and have fever plus either cough or sore throat, or
  • Your symptoms are more severe than usual, or
  • Your symptoms are lasting longer than usual, particularly if you were getting better then started getting worse.

Learn more about the flu here.

Source: Public Health — Seattle & King County

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