TRI-CITIES, Wash. — The sniffles and sneezes can really take a toll this time of year.
A cold comes on a little slower than the flu, said Heather Hill with the Benton-Franklin Health District.
Cold and flu season hit right at the same time so knowing which one you have can be a challenge.
“Colds typically come with a runny nose a cough don't feel quite so achy,” Hill said.
If you're having trouble breathing or your fever spikes Hill says you need to see a doctor.
“Those are the indicators that they need to call their primary care provider or go into a minor emergency clinic,” Hill said.
Hill says stay away from hospital emergency rooms. Those should be reserved for major emergencies. And she says you don't want to run the risk of contracting something more serious. She says stick to a walk-in clinic.
“If you are so sick and you are feeling so bad that you feel medical intervention is needed of course you need to go,” Hill said.
Most of the time a common cold can be treated with over the counter medication but it's hard to tell what would work best for you.
Will Yordy, pharmacist at RX Pharmacy in Richland says use Tylenol for pain or fever.
He also recommends the Afrin nasal spray.
“It is very helpful. It works real fast stays local in the nose,” Yordy said.
He recommends Delsym 12 Hour Cough Suppressant for a cough.
“If you're just trying to sleep at night and you don't want to be coughing all night this one would be great for that,” Yordy said.
Yordy recommends taking these medications with a big glass of water to help get your mucus moving.
“If you’ve got a lot of mucus and you've got a lot of phlegm the Mucinex really helps with that,” Yordy said.
The common cold is caused by over 200 viruses.
Doctors recommend keeping your hands clean and away from your face.
Hill says it's the job of someone with a cold to keep their germs to themselves by coughing into your arm and washing your hands after blowing your nose.