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Is it the Flu, Strep Throat, or a Cold?

With the dry air and the extended time indoors that winter brings, illness is prevalent this time of year. Sore throat, congestion, and fever all are things that can make us feel downright drained this time of year. It can be challenging to know which symptoms are a sign of the flu, strep throat, or just the common cold.

It’s important to know the difference between these three common winter illnesses so that the correct treatment can be given. Read on to learn about the symptoms and main differences between strep throat, a cold, and the flu.

Strep Throat

Perhaps the most distinctive of the three, strep throat most often comes along with a low-grade fever and a very painful sore throat. As opposed to the viral flu or the common cold, strep throat is a bacterial infection. The sore throat will worsen over time and does not improve without antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. 

Strep is not accompanied by congestion or a runny nose, one of the main differences between Strep and a cold or flu. If you suspect you have strep throat, you’ll need to visit your local urgent care center or your primary care physician to get proper treatment. If the throat is the most bothersome aspect, chances are good that it could be strep throat.


The most common flu symptoms include fever, muscle aches, congestion, and cough. The flu is similar to the common cold; however, the fever, chills, and muscle aches that accompany the flu are the main distinguishing factors that usually do not come with a cold. 

However, the congestion and sneezing that comes with the common cold are generally not as severe with the flu. Additionally, flu symptoms come on abruptly, where a cold comes on more gradually. Because the flu is viral, there is no medication that will “cure” it; the body must fight it off on its own. Plenty of fluids and rest are essential as the body fights the flu.

Common Cold

The most common and least severe of the three, the average person will catch 2-4 colds per year. The classic cold symptoms include a stuffy and runny nose, a mild sore throat, sinus congestion, and sneezing. 

Fever, body aches, and chills are relatively uncommon with a cold. Symptoms of a cold, although uncomfortable, are less severe than the flu. If the congestion and runny nose is the most bothersome aspect and there is no fever present, it is likely the common cold. Like the flu, the common cold is a viral infection that the body will fight off on its own. Hot beverages, humidifiers, and nasal sprays can help to manage cold symptoms.

Illness Treatment in somewhere 

If you are suffering from Strep, flu, or cold symptoms, visit us at AFC Urgent Care Caste Rock! We can diagnose and treat your illness, and have you feeling better in no time. Most major insurance plans are accepted, and no appointment needed! Give us a call today 303-660-9700!