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Cold and flu treatment

The common cold or flu can leave you feeling under the weather. At GoHealth Urgent Care, we want to help you feel better faster.

woman sick with flu

Urgent Care for cold and flu symptoms

Achy, fever, coughing and sneezing? You’re likely experiencing upper respiratory infection symptoms, but is it a cold, the flu or COVID-19? When you visit any of our GoHealth Urgent Care centers, we can help you get the correct diagnosis and treatment you need. Just walk in or save your spot online at any of our conveniently located centers — or schedule a Virtual Visit for the same great care from home. We are here for you 365 days a year. 

Cold and flu: symptoms and causes

Are you experiencing cold symptoms? Or are they flu symptoms? What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The common cold and the flu are caused by different viruses. Colds are generally caused by a number of different viruses, whereas the flu is only caused by the influenza A or influenza B viruses. While many of the symptoms of a cold and the flu may overlap, there are some important distinctions between these common upper respiratory infections.

Common cold

A cold is generally milder than the flu. Symptoms are frequently concentrated in the head and nose, such as a headache or runny nose. While fever is common in children with colds, it should generally not be present in adults, and its presence should prompt medical evaluation.


The flu may have similar symptoms, but they are usually more severe. With the flu, you may experience a fever, extreme fatigue, sore throat and severe body aches. Complications from the flu can be more severe compared to a cold, and have the potential to result in hospitalization or even death.


COVID-19 also has symptoms similar to colds or influenza, which makes it even more important to see a healthcare provider to assess your symptoms. A COVID-19 test is the safest bet when it comes to cold and flu symptoms, as the level of symptom severity depends on the individual.

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Diagnosis and treatment

Treatment and diagnosis of colds and the flu differ. Common colds, and sometimes even flu, can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on symptoms and physical exam. Common cold treatments usually include rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter medications. Colds usually worsen over the first 4-5 days, especially at night, and resolve on their own in 7 to 10 days. Light cough may persist up to 3weeks after a cold, but other symptoms should be resolved. The strategy for cold treatment is to suppress or mask symptoms while the immune system fights the virus.

On the other hand, a flu diagnosis is made by assessing a combination of symptoms, and conducting a physical exam and an influenza test, if needed. There are more treatment options for the flu than for a cold. In addition to rest and hydration, our provider may prescribe antiviral medications, fever reducers or other medications depending on your symptoms. Antiviral medications work best when started within the first 48 hours of symptom onset.

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Other conditions GoHealth Urgent Care treats

At GoHealth Urgent Care, we can help diagnose and treat upper respiratory infections, so you can feel better faster. We offer treatment for more than just colds and the flu — we can also help with:

  • Bronchitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Sinusitis

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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