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Cold and flu season is just beginning with local activity being reported in Maryland and some sporadic cases in the District, but it’s coming and it’s best to be prepared. Here at Jivana Care in Bethesda, we are ready to help you when you or your loved ones get sick and you need to seek medical attention. We offer a walk-in clinic and primary care physicians for when you need to be seen, but can’t wait to get into your regular doctor. You can call ahead for an appointment or take advantage of our walk-in care at Jivana Care. Importantly, we offer walk-in pediatric care, so if your little one is ill, you can bring them to Jivan a Care for medical care.

Knowing when to seek help can be a touchy call to make, so we are going to go over tips on making the call about when to seek medical attention as well as covering the difference between the common cold and the flu. First, we will cover what acute symptoms should be seen immediately. We will then go into the distinction to make is if it is a common cold or the flu.


There is nothing worse that going to an urgent care facility only to be turned away and have to get back out on the road to find the closest ER. We want you to get the right medical attention in a timely fashion, and so offer the following guidelines.

  • ER care should be sought for an individual exhibiting the signs (listed below) if they belong to high-risk groups: infants, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems.
  • Urgent Care is usually sufficient for other groups exhibiting the more mild symptoms listed below.


According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Signs you need to seek immediate medical attention at an EMERGENCY ROOM include the following:


  • Difficulty breathing / shallow rapid breathing
  • Blueish skin tone
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Unable to drink fluids
  • Not waking up or lethargic to the point of not interacting with others
  • Begin uncharacteristically irritable to the point where they don’t want to be held
  • Symptoms fade and then return with a fever and bad cough
  • Fever with a rash

IN INFANTS (always take a seriously ill infant to the ER)

  • Signs of dehydration including no tears and more than normal dry diapers
  • Trouble breathing
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Lethargic


  • Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting (common in the Swine Flu)
  • Symptoms fade and then return with a fever and bad cough

These are severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention, but what if the sick person hasn’t reached these benchmarks but is still what you consider to be very sick? One way to determine if you should go to an ER or an urgent care is to ask yourself if the person would be in danger of loss of life if the symptoms continued for 24 hours. If the answer is no, then a visit to an urgent care department is appropriate. More mild symptoms can be treated at an Urgent Care.


  • Sore throat (if pain is extreme and accompanied by a fever it could be strep throat and you need to seek medical attention
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Sinus congestion
  • Chills
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Some vomiting


We’ve all had the common cold, and most of us have suffered through a bout of influenza at some point, and there are some important differences that can be reviewed to determine if what you have this time around is a cold or the flu. Many of the symptoms overlap and it can be a matter of severity and duration of the symptoms to determine which illness you have.

  • Both the cold and the flu can cause sinus congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, and a cough.
  • A cold generally lasts about a week to ten days
  • The coughing with the flu is much more severe than with a cold
  • The flu can last weeks and is much more severe
  • Fevers are common in children with a cold, but in adults, fevers are often a sign of the flu
  • Vomiting and diarrhea are common with some strains of the flu, specifically the Swine Flu
  • If the illness is accompanied by extreme exhaustion, it is likely the flu


Generally speaking, a cold and the flu are treated much the same. Decongestants and other over-the-counter medications can be used to alleviate the symptoms while you wait for your body to fight off the viral infections. Be careful of giving cold medications to small children (check with their doctor first), and always keep track of how much acetaminophen you are taking in any 24 hour period. Rest and plenty of fluids are a universal prescription for both of these illnesses.
There are some anti-viral medications that can be given for severe cases of the flu.

Call Jivana Care for an appointment with one of our primary care physicians or walk into our walk-in clinic. We have weekend hours for your convenience.

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