Cold, Flu, or Pneumonia?


  • Symptoms develop slowly
  • Coughing, sneezing    
  • Sinus pain
  • Sore throat
  • Mild body aches
  • Symptoms subside within 4-9 days
  • Generally less severe than the flu
  • Can be treated with over-the-counter medications
  • Best remedies are rest and lots of fluids
  • Contact your healthcare provider if your cold persists for more than a week, if your cough suddenly worsens, or you develop a fever
  • Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are not used to treat viruses/colds 


  • Symptoms usually develop suddenly
  • Sudden high fever (above 100.40)
  • Significant body aches
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mild cough, mild sore throat
  • Symptoms subside in 2-5 days, although respiratory symptoms such as dry cough and sore throat can last 2 weeks.
  • Rest, drink lots of fluids, take over-the-counter medication for fever and body aches
  • Prescription anti-virals (such as Tamiflu) may help you recover more quickly.  
    • It is reported that anti-virals (Tamiflu and/ or Relenza) are most effective if taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms.
  • Stay home until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.


  • Symptoms usually start faster a little faster than cold symptoms, but slower than flu symptoms
  • Viral pneumonia-deterioration over the course of 12-36 hours
  • Bacterial pneumonia-happens when bacteria invades lungs that are weakened by a cold or flu
  • Shortness of breath is a common symptom
  • Sharp or stabbing pain with inhalation
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased breathing and heart rate
  • Blueness around the mouth and lips
  • Patients with pneumonia ALWAYS need to see a healthcare provider for treatment
  • When being treated for pneumonia, it is vital for patients to complete the course of medication prescribed by their doctor. 
    • Not completing all prescribed medications may result in relapse.

When in doubt about your symptoms, schedule an appointment at Health Services at 337-475-5748.