Peak flu season hits each year when cooler weather hits. Windows are closed so inside air is trapped. People gather in homes for holiday and New Year gatherings after flights, long car rides, and train or bus rides.

How can you tell if it’s the flu or a cold? If it is the flu, your parents face bigger risks than you likely do. Understanding the differences between a cold and the flu helps them seek immediate treatment.

Typical Symptoms of a Cold

The three most common symptoms of a cold are nasal congestion, sneezing, and a sore throat. You might feel tired. If the cold is in the chest, a cough and chest discomfort are possible. Aches are also possible.

A cold slowly builds. You’ll feel it coming and worsening. Once it’s at its worst, you may find yourself needing a few days before the worst of it starts to lessen. A cold may last up to two weeks, but it’s usually around a week to a week and a half.

Symptoms That Make the Flu Different

When you have the flu, you have more symptoms. The main ones are fever, chills, cough, chest discomfort, and sleepiness. Aches and pains are also common and that includes a headache.

The flu hits hard without any warning. You might have nasal congestion and sneezing, but it’s not as likely. You may also have a sore throat, but it’s less likely and often related more to the irritation from constant coughing.

The flu usually lasts a week if you’re recovering well. Some people need two or three weeks before they’re fully recovered. There is the chance of the flu developing into pneumonia. If a fever gets worse or returns, see a doctor immediately.

If you think your mom or dad has the flu, call a doctor. If it’s diagnosed in the first few days, some medications can help shorten the duration. The doctor may also decide to admit your mom or dad for IV fluids and nutrition if they’re not drinking or eating a lot.

When your parents come down with a virus, they need extra support. They’ll be too tired to keep up with meals and cleaning. Hire senior care services to allow them to rest and recover. Caregivers can run errands, arrange medical appointments if needed, and drive them there. Call a senior care agency to discuss pricing for the home care services your parents need.

If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Scarborough, ME, please contact the caring staff at CareTree Healthcare today. Call today! 207-899-0774.