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

Cold remedies

Definition

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 can also include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, 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.

Alternative Names

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

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?

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm. Updated October 21, 2019. Accessed October 28, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Flu: what to do if you get sick. www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm. Updated February 28, 2019. Accessed August 7, 2019

Hayden FG. Influenza. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 364.

Turner RB. The common cold. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 361.


Review Date: 11/20/2017
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 10-28-19: Editorial update.