From the desk of Nurse Allen

The Texas Department of Health Services recently reported that flu-like illnesses were increasing around the state and were above typical levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling the influenza outbreak “a national epidemic.”

Cold or flu? What should you know?

Q: What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
A: There are revealing differences between a cold and the flu, with the most telling clues usually coming at the beginning of the illness. The common cold has gradually evolving symptoms. Flu symptoms, however, are usually felt sooner and with greater intensity.

Q: What are typical flu symptoms for most patients?
A: Flu symptoms usually begin with a sudden onset of fever between 100 and 102 degrees or higher and may last three to five days –- sometimes even dragging on for a week or longer. However, not everyone with the  flu will have a fever. Other flu symptoms include chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, coughing and headaches. Some flu patients report that they feel as though they have been run over by a truck and that this feeling can last several weeks. The flu can also lead to severe respiratory problems and pneumonia.

Q: What do colds look like, and what are common symptoms of a cold?
A: Colds are typically a milder illness, with nasal congestion, sneezing and scratchy throat being the most frequently occurring symptoms. Adults and older children may have a low-grade fever or none at all. Infants and toddlers, however, may have a higher temperature. Unlike the flu, which can linger, a cold usually comes and goes in a week or so. 

Q: Can someone prevent the onset of a cold or flu?
A: Although there isn’t much you can do to prevent getting a cold -– with the exception of good hand hygiene and avoiding contact with those who may be ill -– there is something you can do to prevent getting the flu. Ensure that you and your loved ones receive the flu vaccine every year.

For more information contact Kelsey-Seybold Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center call 713-442-9100 or visit

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