This year the flu has been far milder than last – the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst in recent history, and flu cases are way down, we are still not

The best way to prevent contracting the flu and being knocked out for days is by getting the vaccine, which this year is proving to be far more effective than last. While you might not avoid the flu in entirety, “the CDC stresses that even small increases in immunity can make a big difference, both on an individual and a population level. If fewer people get sick, there’s fewer flu virus to be spread, and the ripple effect continues. Plus, vaccinated people who end up getting sick tend to have less severe illnesses, Bhowmick says. ‘Maybe you’re not in bed for a week,’ she says. ‘Maybe it’s only two, three, four days, and it’s not going to be as severe as if you had the actual flu.’”

However, if you have not been vaccinated or feel yourself coming down with something, how do you know if you have a cold or the flu?

Both the common cold and the flu are viral diseases, and while there are some overlap with symptoms, the flu and a cold vary in important ways.

We love this simple to read chart from the CDC which outlines how to know what you are dealing with.

If you think you do have the flu, it is important to call your doctor to see if a prescription antiviral drug could be appropriate. Just like any virus, decongestants, over the counter pain relievers/ fever reducers, and cough or cold medicines will help to ease the symptoms, but the virus must run its course. But unlike your common cold, the flu can have serious complications in young children and the elderly, so be sure to call your doctor or come into Our Urgent Care for proper diagnosis and treatment.