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Cold and Flu Season

While December brings many happy times, it also often marks the beginning of cold and flu season.

This year proves particularly challenging for both patients and healthcare providers, as we attempt to “sort out” symptoms of COVID, FLU, COMMON COLD, RSV, and other winter season viruses.


  • SYMPTOMS ONSET: Develop over 24 to 36 hours 
  • SYMPTOMS: Fever (temp over 100), chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue (severe), sore throat and cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • May have 1 or all symptoms lasting often under 5 to 7 days. Severity varies widely among individuals


  • SYMPTOMS ONSET:  Develop suddenly, “hit by a truck”
  • SYMPTOMS: Fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat and cough, stuffy nose, headache, mild fatigue
  • Symptoms are a little more universal lasting under 5 days. The severity is mild to moderate.


  • SYMPTOM ONSET:  Slowly over 1 to 3 days.
  • SYMPTOMS: RSV is often the virus that causes COLD symptoms. Adults can clear this virus often without debilitating symptoms.  runny nose with nasal mucous that begins clear or white and turns yellow or green after 2 to 3 days (not requiring antibiotics as this is a virus), sneezing sore throat, and cough.
  • Symptoms may last 7 to 10 days. INFANTS and YOUNG CHILDREN may develop more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing requiring hospitalization

Many viral symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, as well as supplements to boost the immune system. Lots of rest (listening to your body), pushing fluids, and eating a healthy diet all aid in recovery from a virus. If symptoms worsen instead of gradually improving always contact your healthcare provider.

December often means sharing holiday cheer with family and friends.  Unfortunately, this means we share germs and diseases as well.  Recent years have highlighted the importance of basic handwashing and social distancing as well as vaccinations to prevent the spread of such diseases. Following these measures this holiday season, and after, will aid in keeping you, your friends, and your family healthy!  

By: Beth Fields, Nurse Practitioner

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