Cold or Flu? Get Medical Care Delivered

Dr. Phil Mitchell
Medically reviewed by Dr. Phil MitchellSeptember 29th, 2020

It’s just about that time of year again. Time to stock up on tissues and your favorite remedies. Time to up your disinfectant game. Time for cold and flu season.

These two seasonal illnesses are often very similar in the way they present, and many people routinely mistake one for the other. But a cold is typically nothing more than an inconvenient nuisance, while the flu is a much more serious disease with potentially dangerous complications. In addition, COVID-19 is another serious illness that can be confused with either the flu or a cold as well.

How Do You Tell the Difference?

There are a number of symptoms that overlap between the common cold and influenza. But there are also several that are unique to each. Generally, if your symptoms have a gradual onset you have a cold, whereas flu symptoms will appear abruptly.

The flu is commonly associated with fever, aches and fatigue. Colds, on the other hand, usually mean sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat.

All of these symptoms can be present with the flu, but are much less common.

The two illnesses are so similar that even doctors often misdiagnose one way or the other based on symptoms alone. The only way to tell for certain whether one has the flu or just a cold is to do an infectious disease test. Since initiating treatment early for the flu is key, it’s a good idea to seek one out as soon as you start feeling ill.

Get Diagnosed at Home

You could, of course, head to your local emergency room to seek medical treatment. But that would mean sitting in a waiting room with other sick people. If what you have turns out to be just a cold, you could be exposed to flu germs while your immune system is already weakened and wind up contracting it as well. If you do have the flu, you could be passing it on to a whole waiting room full of people, and spreading the disease to their friends and family as well.

It’s for this reason that many choose to avoid doctor’s offices and medical clinics during flu season, if possible. But seeking treatment early on is crucial if you might be at risk for severe and life-threatening flu complications like pneumonia or dehydration. What’s a sick person to do?

We recommend you get diagnosed at home.

DispatchHealth travels so the flu doesn’t.

With a quick call to 1-888-908-0553, their qualified medical team — also referred to as the season’s “

Traveling Flu Crew” — will be on their way to your home, armed with the tools and knowledge to diagnose and treat seasonal illnesses like the flu as well as a number of other maladies or injuries. Each medical team consists of either a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, along with a DispatchHealth medical technician (DHMT) and also an on-call physician. To provide a seamless care experience, immediately after the visit and with patient consent, providers share a detailed report to each patient’s living community, home health agency and/or primary care physician.

Best of all, it’s affordable. A visit with DispatchHealth typically costs one-tenth of the price of a visit to the ER and patients pay an average of $5-$50 depending on their insurance plan.

So next time you’re feeling poorly, don’t leave your health to chance or risk contagion in a waiting room full of sick people.

Call DispatchHealth and get on the road to recovery quickly without ever getting on the road at all!


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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