Medical Supplies

Flu or Cold?

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • A 100℉ or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Most people who the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death. People at high-risk for complications include young children. adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions.


A cold is an infection caused by one of a number of viruses. In dealing with a cold remember that antibiotics will not help, as antibiotics fight bacterial infections. When antibiotics are taken unnecessarily or incorrectly stronger bacteria can develop, and potentially make us sicker. Factors such as stress, fatigue, and poor diet may increase one's susceptibility to colds or other illnesses.

Symptoms of a cold include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Chills

Check out this chart for a comparison of symptoms »

Medication Chart

Ibuprofen 200mg (Advil, Motrin) 1-2 tabs every 6-8 hours OR Aleve 1 tab every 12 hours For pain relief, fever, and anti-inflammatory agent. Take with food.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 325 mg,
1-2 tabs every 6 hours.
No more than 8 tabs per day.
Pain relief, fever control. Avoid alcohol.
Aspirin is not recommended while ill.
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed 12 hour) Available through pharmacies only; take a.m. and p.m. while congested Decongestant: used to
treat congestion of the sinuses ears and chest.
Diphenhydramine 25mg (Benadryl)
1-2 tabs every 6 hours Loratadine (Claritin) 1 tab daily Cetirizine (Zyrtec)1 tab daily
Antihistamines: for allergy symptoms, and to assist with congestion. Benadryl may cause drowsiness.
Guaifenesin (Mucinex)
Guaifenesin/Pseudoephedrine (Mucinex D)
(Mucinex DM)
1 tab every 12 Hours
Guaifenesin: mucus thinner D= a decongestant (i.e. pseudoephedrine) DM= a cough suppressant (i.e. dextromethorphan)
Dextromethorphan (Delsym 12h)
(Robitussin DM)
Cough Control
Nasal saline washes/sprays Cleans/moistens nasal passages
Avoid alcohol, smoke, dust, and other irritants as these can worsen mucus production.
Read all labels carefully to ensure that you are not taking a double dose of any one medication.
If pregnant, consult your provider prior to taking any medicine.