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Cold or flu?

Is it the Cold or Flu?

When you or a loved one is sick with a cold or the flu, you do not want to travel far to feel better. UNC Physicians Network offers highly trained, compassionate care teams close to home. We are here to assist you when you need it most. 

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It can be hard to tell the difference between a common cold and the flu. Here at UNCPN, we want you to be informed and get the care you need, as soon as symptoms arise. Learn more about the differences and when you should take action: 

Know the signs and symptoms

What is the Flu?

Flu is short for influenza, a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It can make you feel awful. Severe cases can even lead to death.

What is a cold?

Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adult miss work each year. Sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold, followed by coughing and sneezing. Most people recover from a cold in about 7 to 10 days. 

How to protect yourself from a cold or the flu?

Cold and flu germs spread from infected people to others through the air and close personal contact. You can help reduce your risk of getting a cold or the flu by: 

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses that cause colds or the flu enter your body this way and can make you sick. 
  • Stay away from others who are sick. Close contact with others who are sick are a common way viruses spread. 

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