There are two things we can count on in the winter – cold weather and stuffy or runny noses. Winter is prime time for spreading diseases since more people are staying indoors and spreading germs to others.
The common cold and influenza are prevalent in the winter months. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid getting sick.
How can you tell if you have a cold or the flu?
Both the common cold and the flu are caused by viruses that infect your airways. Most people have experienced the common cold in their lifetime. Symptoms include runny or stuffy nose, itchy or sore throat, cough, congestion, slight body aches or mild headache, sneezing, watery eyes, mild fatigue and low-grade fever.
“Most cases of the cold don’t need medical attention,” Dr. Alan Johnson, Family Practice Physician for Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic, said. “However, if symptoms won’t go away or worsen, it may be time to see your doctor for further treatment.”
Unlike a regular cold, the flu comes on suddenly over a few hours. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, dry cough, headache, dizziness and general body aches.
“If you develop flu-like symptoms, there are prescription antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, that can make your illness milder and shorten the time you are sick,” Johnson said. “See your doctor right away if you think you may have the flu because it is treatable for the first few days only. If you wait, it can take up to three weeks to recover.”
What can you do to prevent a cold and the flu?
Using good health habits can help prevent the cold and flu. It’s important to wash your hands frequently and cover your cough and sneezes. The best way to prevent the flu is to be vaccinated each year.
If you suspect you have the flu, stay home when you’re sick to prevent spreading it to others.
Flu vaccines are provided at Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic at 35020 SE Kinsey St., Snoqualmie. No appointment is needed. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Call 425-396-7682 to make an appointment with Dr. Johnson or one of our other five providers, including a pediatrician. For more information about Dr. Johnson, click here: Dr. Alan Johnson.
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