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Colds and the flu - what to ask your doctor - adult

What to ask your doctor about colds and the flu - adult; Influenza - what to ask your doctor - adult; Upper respiratory infection - what to ask your doctor - adult; URI - what to ask your doctor - adult; H1N1 (Swine) flu - what to ask your doctor - adult

Many different germs, called viruses, cause colds. Symptoms of the common cold include:

The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the influenza virus.

Many flu symptoms are similar to those of a common cold. Flu symptoms most often include fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Symptoms can also include vomiting and diarrhea.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your cold or flu.

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Cold remedies

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Questions

What are the symptoms of a cold? What are the symptoms of the flu? How can I tell them apart?

Can I make other people sick? How can I prevent that? What should I do if I have a young child at home? How about somebody who is older?

When will I start to feel better?

What should I eat or drink? How much?

What medicines can I buy to help with my symptoms?

Will antibiotics make my symptoms go away faster?

Are there other medicines that can make the flu go away faster?

How can I keep from getting a cold or the flu?

Related Information

Immune response
Community-acquired pneumonia in adults
Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Flu
Common cold
Stuffy or runny nose - children
Cough
Fever
Avian influenza
H1N1 influenza (Swine flu)
Colds and the flu - what to ask your doctor - child
Pneumonia in children - discharge

References

Barrett B, Turner RB. The common cold. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 337.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm. Updated December 2, 2019. Accessed December 5, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Flu: what to do if you get sick. www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm. Updated October 8, 2019. Accessed December 5, 2019.

Ison MG, Hayden FG. Influenza. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 340.

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Review Date: 9/29/2019  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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