Comprehensive Cold & Flu Care
Flu shots are now available at all of our ReadyCare facilities. Click here for Temple ReadyCare locations, hours and contact information. No appointment necessary.
When the cold or the flu unexpectedly strikes you or your family, Temple ReadyCare is ready to help with our experienced team of Temple physicians and nurses. We have extended hours, when your regular physician is not available, so you can get on your way to feeling better fast.
Just the Facts on Cold and Flu
Colds are our most common infections. Most adults get 3-5 colds per year. While every cold is different, most people will have some combination of symptoms, including: sneezing/runny nose, cough, sore/scratchy throat, fever, headache or muscle aches. Colds usually last 7-10 days with the worst symptoms on the second or third day. Complications of colds are uncommon but may include asthma attacks and/or ear and sinus infections.
Colds are caused by viruses. Viruses are not cured or improved by antibiotics and only go away on their own. There is no need for antibiotics for the typical cold. Using antibiotics when they are not needed creates resistance, which means that the antibiotics will not work when you really need them. The only way to treat a cold is to treat the symptoms. Some medications do seem to help and are listed below. Also, it is wise to get more rest and drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever.
What is the Flu?
The flu is caused by the influenza virus and is a potentially more serious illness than the common cold. The symptoms are similar to a cold but more severe, with more body aches and higher fever. The influenza virus is spread from one infected person to the nose or throat of others. Influenza can make people of any age ill. Most people are ill for 4-7 days, and only need rest, fluids and over-the-counter remedies for relief of symptoms.
The best way to prevent influenza is frequent hand-washing (just like colds); however, we also have a vaccine to prevent influenza. Although the vaccine was traditionally only offered to seniors, patients with certain chronic medical problems and others at higher risk, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that all persons aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated annually, with rare exceptions in the autumn of each year.1 Since the influenza virus itself changes each year, it is necessary to be vaccinated every year.
How do I know whether I have a cold or the flu?2
The common cold and the flu may have similar symptoms, and it can often be difficult to tell the difference between these two respiratory ailments. Below are a few general guidelines to help know the difference between these two viral illnesses. Always check with your physician or visit one of our ReadyCare locations to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. Only your healthcare provider can determine if these are symptoms of a cold, flu or other ailment.
- Usually milder than the flu
- Symptoms of runny nose and stuffy nose are common
- Colds generally do not result in serious complications, such as pneumonia or hospitalizations
- Usually worse than a cold
- Symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common
Cold and Flu Medications Available without a Prescription
Medications available without a prescription to help you feel better when you have a cold or "flu":
1. Decongestants (relieves stuffiness in nose and sinuses):
- Sudafed 12 Hour (120 mg) – two times a day
- (these products may cause insomnia or jitteriness)
- Sudafed (30-60 mg) – four times a day
- Afrin Nasal Spray – 2-3 sprays each nostril twice a day (not to be used more than three days)
2. Cough medications (suppress cough, may thin or dry secretions):
- Robitussin DM – 2 tsp every six hours
- Robitussin CF – 2 tsp every six hours
- (has an anti-cough ingredient plus a decongestant; should not be combined with Sudafed)
- Robitussin Cold and Cough Liqui-gels
- (a pill version; 2 pills every four hours)
- Delsym – 2 tsp every 12 hours
3. Pain relief, fevers, sore throats:
- Tylenol (325 or 500 mg) – two pills every four to six hours
- Advil, Nuprin, Motrin-IB (all 200 mg) – 2-3 pills with food every six hours
- Aspirin 325 mg – two pills with food every four to six hours
- (never use for cold or flu in children under age 12)
- Chloraseptic or Sucrets – for sore throat. Come in various forms
- Salt water gargles – ½ tsp salt in 4 oz. (about ½ glass) warm water every 2-4 hours for sore throat
- May offer mild relief of sneezing and runny nose; doctors are conflicted as to whether these medicines are really helpful for colds. They are most useful in treating symptoms of allergies. They are often combined with decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylpropanolamine (which works like Sudafed), to dry up mucus and counteract the sedation that antihistamines can cause in people.
- Benadryl 25 mg – one pill every six hours
- Combination antihistamine/decongestant:
- Benadryl Decongestant – one pill or two tsp every four to six hours
- Dimetapp Extentabs – one pill every twelve hours
- Drixoral Cold and Allergy – one pill every twelve hours
- Triaminic-12 – one every twelve hours
Locations, hours and contact information
Click here for Temple ReadyCare locations, hours and contact information.
1 Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/2013-summary-recommendations.htm
2 Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov/flu