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Flu, Cold and Sore Throat Treatment

We’ll Help You Recover Quickly from Contagious Viral Infections

When you start to get congestion, coughing, runny nose or sneezes, you may worry you are getting a cold, or worse yet, the flu. It’s easy to confuse a cold with the flu, but the common cold is often much milder and often comes on gradually, while the flu usually has a rapid onset and can progress to a more serious infection called pneumonia. Getting the seasonal flu shot during peak flu season between October and March is the best way to protect yourself against the contagious viral infection. Flu shots are necessary every year, as flu strains mutate constantly and new strains are more prevalent from one season to the next. You are not immune to the flu if you’ve had it before, either.

Although the flu usually isn’t life-threatening for younger, healthier individuals, even younger people still feel miserable during a bout of the flu. Even though it usually goes away on its own without treatment within one to two weeks, there are instances when complications arise, such as a potentially deadly case of pneumonia.

Do I Have the Flu?

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Dry cough
  • Feeling achy in the back or legs
  • High fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Persistent headache
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating from hot flashes and cold chills
  • Weakness and fatigue

Who Gets the Flu?

No matter how healthy you are, anyone can come down with the flu. That’s because the flu is highly contagious and spreads through the air when people cough, sneeze or even just talk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 8 –11% of the U.S. population contracts the flu in any given flu season. Certain people get worse bouts of flu than others, especially if they have a chronic illness, such as cancer.

Getting a seasonal flu shot is the best route to take in protecting yourself against the flu. Most people over the age of 6 months are eligible for the flu shot, including pregnant women and the elderly. The reason you should be vaccinated yearly is that you are protecting more than just yourself. People with weakened immune systems, who may catch the flu from you, cannot fight off the viral infection as easily as healthier people.

Unless you have a severe, life-threatening allergy risk associated with the flu shot, such as an egg allergy, you should consider getting vaccinated. Most people who are allergic to eggs are still eligible for the flu shot and can be vaccinated at our emergency and urgent care centers, so our staff can monitor you if you have a severe reaction and treat it quickly. Learn more about who should get the flu shot on the CDC website.

Anyone can get a cold, flu or sore throat. If you’re unsure whether you have a pesky cold or a serious bout of the flu, come to a UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center for help, open 24/7.