By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –It’s flu and cold season. Illness can strike quickly, and symptoms can be confusing to sort out. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is here to break it down.

So far it’s been a quiet flu season. Sporadic cases in Pennsylvania, and little to no activity in New Jersey and Delaware. But the season is just getting started, and being able to recognize symptoms early could actually help shorten an illness.

Bogged down by a cough or runny nose? Feeling tired and rundown, even achy? It could be a cold, or even worse, the flu.

Those feeling sick often run to the pharmacy for some relief.

“There is no medication that cures the common cold. We treat the symptoms with over the counter medications,” said Dr. Carol Nieroda, an internist.

Symptoms for the common cold include a runny nose and congestion, along with a mild cough and mild fever.

Flu symptoms typically hit quickly and are more severe. They include fever, body aches, extreme fatigue and a dry cough.

“It can also progress into severe complications such as pneumonia or even hospitalization,” said Dr. Nieroda.

Flu symptoms can last for over a week if not taken care of. But if caught early, antivirals like Tamiflu can help.

“These particular medications do not necessarily kill the virus, but they do speed up your recovery,” said Dr. Nieroda.

The best prevention is to get a flu shot; there’s still time to get one. And washing your hands can stop the spread of both cold and flu germs.

For seasonal flu information, click here.

For information on the difference between the flu and a cold, click here.

For Pennsylvania flu info, click here.

For NJ flu info, click here.

For Delaware flu information, click here.

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