Flu vs. Cold: Signs and Symptoms

Flu vs. Cold Signs and Symptoms


The average person gets sick two to four times per year. For children, this can even be as high as ten times per year! Most of these cases are the common cold, which is treated with rest, fluids and some over-the-counter medication. But some of these occurrences are more serious, like the flu (influenza), which left untreated, can manifest into severe sickness, hospitalization, and even death.

Although influenza rates have dropped slightly in recent years, the flu still causes about 3,500 deaths and 18,000 hospitalizations each year!

But how can you tell when you have the flu vs. a common cold?

Whether you’re curious, looking to prevent the flu, or wanting to do a symptom check, here are the common signs of both the flu and the common cold, so you can tell the difference and get yourself to a doctor as soon as possible, if necessary.

What Are the Symptoms of a Common Cold?

A cold typically begins with a sore throat. This can last a few days but doesn’t persist. The sore throat is usually followed by nasal symptoms, anything from congestion to a runny nose. The congestion usually grows into a cough on days four to five.

Sometimes you’ll run a fever with a cold, too, although this happens more often with children than adults.

A dead giveaway for a cold is the mucus and nasal congestion. You will either have a nose that’s constantly running with watery liquid, or you’ll have a thicker mucus that makes your nose feel ‘stuffy.’ Both of these are normal for a cold, but if this persists longer than two weeks, you may have something more serious.

How Long Does a Cold Last?

The common cold has a duration of about a week. During the first few days will be when your symptoms are new and the most contagious; it’s best to stay home and rest. If your symptoms are persisting longer than a week, or the mucus is getting thicker or darker in colour, it may be a sign of a bacterial or sinus infection.

These more serious infections need to be treated with antibiotics.

What Are the Symptoms of a Cold?
What Are the Symptoms of a Cold?

What Are Typical Flu Symptoms?

Although cold and flu symptoms are relatively similar, it can be easy to tell the difference if you’re paying attention to the severity of the symptoms and how quickly they attack.

With the flu, the symptoms are more severe and come on quicker. You’ll have a sore throat, congestion, muscle/body aches, fever, and cough right away. Most symptoms will start to improve over the course of a week, but oftentimes, you’ll feel exhausted and sick for a week or even longer.

It’s good to be aware of your symptoms during your sickness because it can be easy to contract other illnesses, especially if you have heart or lung problems. Sometimes the flu can turn into pneumonia, which is especially a risk for the elderly.

If you’re experiencing shortness of breath or other breathing complications, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Cold vs. Flu: How Can You Tell the Difference?

One of the biggest giveaways of the flu is a fever. If you run a fever with a cold, it’ll typically be low grade and mild. With the flu, it will be higher, often over 38.3 degrees Celcius (especially in children) and can last about three to four days.

With the flu, you’ll often get headaches (which you don’t always see with a simple cold). Your body aches will be more severe, and overall exhaustion can last as long as three weeks! Chest discomfort and a cough can also be a sign of the flu. The cough with the flu will often be ‘hacking’ and lingering, getting more severe with time.

Timing can also be a giveaway. The traditional ‘flu’ season runs from fall to spring, so if you’re experiencing some severe symptoms within that timeframe, October to May, you might want to give your doctor a call.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Complications of both a cold and the flu include pneumonia, bronchitis, strep throat, and sinus/ear infections. If a cold/flu worsens and is left untreated, it’s easy to contract one of these other illnesses and feel much worse.

You should see a doctor if you have persistent fever (greater than 38.3 degrees Celcius for more than three to four days) or if you’re having painful swallowing, a persistent cough, or congestion coupled with headaches that last over one week.

If you’re someone who suffers from chronic health problems like asthma, heart disease, obesity, or if you’re pregnant, elderly, or are young (under 5 but especially infants), your complications and risk may be much higher, so you should see a doctor sooner.

How to Take Care of Your Body When You Have the Flu

If you think you have the flu, it’s best to see a doctor. You will be prescribed medication, often antibiotics, that will help to fight infections. You’ll want to rest and drink plenty of fluids when you have the flu.

Because influenza is very contagious in the first 24 to 48 hours, it’s best to stay home for at least 24 hours or until your fever is gone.

Preventative Care for the Flu

If you haven’t already, you should consider the flu vaccination to prevent yourself and your loved ones from contracting the flu. You can often get the vaccination at your doctor’s office.

Vaccinations are preventive care. Be sure to get the vaccination before you contract any flu-like symptoms.

If you’re looking to get the vaccination or to talk to a doctor about your symptoms, click here to find a practice near you.

The Perfect Match: What to Look When Finding a New GP in Melbourne

GP in Melbourne

Looking for a new GP in Melbourne? There are a few things you need to look for to find the perfect match, so read on to find out how.

On an average day in Australia, over 400,000 people make a visit to their general practitioner.

How many of those would say they have hand-picked the best GP for them?

Your GP is going to be one of the most important people in your life as they safeguard the future health of you and your family.

It’s not a decision to be made on a whim. So let’s take a look at how you can choose the perfect the best GP in Melbourne.

What to Look When Finding a New GP in Melbourne

Finding a New Medical Center in Melbourne
Finding a New Medical Center in Melbourne

There are certain features and characteristics you want to keep in mind when searching for the perfect GP. And with over 28,000 registered practitioners in Victoria alone, you need to know how to pick the right one.

We’re going to run through our top tips for doing your research in just a moment, but first, let’s cover some of the basics.

You want to be aware of the type of practice that you’re looking for. Do you want a smaller practice that may feel more familiar? In that case, you should probably consider that the working hours may be shorter. So, if you want to have more extensive coverage hours you might look for a larger practice with more physicians available. 

Another thing to think about is the billing system of your chose general practitioner. Do you want to opt for a new GP that bulk bills so you never pay anything out of pocket? 

The main difference between bulk billing and private billing is that the appointments for bulk billing will be very quick. This might be perfect for a prescription but for any medical concerns you would want private billing.

These questions can sometimes fall by the wayside when trying to find a new primary care physician but they are crucial to your experience. Knowing that your GP shares similar values to you and your family can also be a good sign that you’ve chosen the right practice.  

Top Tips For Finding a GP

You already know by now that the options for a general practitioner are vast in Melbourne, so let’s help you find your dream GP in no time. 

It’s not as hard as you think once you take the following factors into consideration.

1. Look Local

General Practitioner in Melbourne CBD
General Practitioner in Melbourne CBD

Start off by mapping out your local area to find the different GP offices that are convenient for you, for example, Melbourne CBD. You don’t necessarily want the closest but you do want a practice that is accessible to you. Life is busy enough without having to drive a long way when you or a family member is unwell. 

You’ll also be more likely to keep appointments or even visit for preventative care than if you have a practitioner further away. Another thing to consider is whether they offer transportation benefits under Medicare.

2. Ask Around

You are an individual with your own preferences but it can still be very useful to ask around among trusted friends and family to find out if they can recommend a GP. This is a relationship that relies heavily on trust and confidence and they might have found a GP who has proven indispensable over time.

Just make sure that you understand that persons needs and values before taking a recommendation from them. If they closely align with your own then add them to your shortlist to check out.

Online reviews play an important role in letting you know whether the GP practice is a trusted option. What do other people have to say about them?

3. Do Quality Control

There are a number of ways that you can check if your general practitioner has the quality of care that you need. Firstly, those reviews we mentioned earlier are a good place to start.

Secondly, check that your GP is registered with the Medical Board of Australia. This means they have to stay up to date on the latest practices and information. In turn, you will receive the most up to date level of care.

4. Cold Call Research

Research The Best Doctor in Melbourne CBD
Research The Best Doctor in Melbourne CBD

Now, you should be cutting down your shortlist by now and the next step is to cold call each practice. You can tell a lot by the general phone etiquette of the practice about how they treat new and existing patients. 

Essential questions to ask about the following:

  • How they fulfill repeat prescriptions
  • How do they let you know about test results?
  • What are the different ways you can book an appointment? Online, email, telephone, etc.
  • Do they have any process to remind you of overdue annual screening or flu shot?

These can give you an indication of whether you will like the running of the practice.

5. Keep it Personal

Your choice depends greatly on you and your needs and values. For example, cultural or language issues could come into play so make sure that the options play to your specific needs.

Perhaps you find a primary care physician that has in-depth experience with diabetes and that is why your friend has had a great experience. That’s brilliant for them but you might need someone with knowledge of sports medicine. In that case, they would not be your best choice. 

The GP could be incredible in his field but you know that you need specialised care in another area.

6. Trust Your Instincts

Take everything we have discussed today into consideration when making your final choice. However, you also have to go with what just feels right. 

Make an appointment and see how you feel about the GP in person. At the end of the day, they need to put you at ease.

You should feel comfortable discussing any aspect of your health with your GP so work through our steps to find your top prospects and then simply go with your gut. 

Ready to Find Your New GP in Melbourne?

It’s not a decision to be taken too lightly, as your GP will be vital to the health and happiness of your family. By deciding which factors mean the most to you, it allows you to find a GP in Melbourne that suits your needs. 

Hopefully, you now feel prepared with the information you need to discover the practitioner that makes you feel confident about the future.

Are you ready to start the search for your new primary care physician? Why not check out our team to see if one of them could be the right fit for your family.

Melbourne Flu Vaccination 2019. Everything that You Need to Know

Flu Vaccination 2019 Melbourne
Flu Vaccination 2019 Melbourne

2019 Influenza Season is Here Again in Melbourne

At this time of the year, when Melbourne starts getting cooler, and we start seeing the first signs of the flu, we make the same question that we ask every year, should I get the Flu Vaccination in 2019?

Well, the Influenza season is here again in Melbourne, and in this article, I will be covering the most common question patients ask regarding the flu. What is Influenza, how to prevent it or which are the risk associated with the virus?

I hope after reading it, you can have a proper answer to this dilemma!

Q: What is influenza (flu) and how can be transmitted?

 Influenza is a viral infection, produced by influenza virus types A, B or C. The virus is spread by virus-containing aerosols produced by coughing, sneezing or by direct contact with respiratory secretions.

Melbourne CBD and the symptoms of influenza 2019
Melbourne CBD and the symptoms of influenza 2019

Q: What are the symptoms of influenza?

People with influenza may experience the following symptoms:

  • People with influenza may experience
  • fever (or feeling feverish/having chills)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • body aches and pains
  • headaches
  • runny nose
  • sneezing, and chills

Although some adults and Children may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

Q: How long does someone with the flu stay contagious?

The period between infection and onset of symptoms (incubation period) for influenza is 1- 3 days. A person with influenza may be contagious 24 hours before symptoms begin and continue to be infectious for a week after the onset of symptoms.


Q: Why the Flu is considered in Melbourne a serious infection?

Risk of not having the  Flu Shot
Risk of not getting Flu Vaccination in 2019 Melbourne

Infected persons may become unwell for up to a week. Most patients take up to 2 weeks to recover from influenza, however, it can cause complications or even death. Some of the complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, croup and ear infections.


Q: What are some common side effects from the flu Vaccinations in 2019?

Common side effects include soreness, redness, pain and swelling at the injection site, drowsiness, tiredness, muscle aches, and fever. These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, usually without any treatment. You should contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about any symptoms you experience or if you have a persistent high temperature. If you have any allergies or are concerned about the potential side effects of the flu vaccine please discuss this with your healthcare professional.

Why should you get the Flu Vaccination in 2019 in Melbourne CBD

Why should you get the Flu Vaccination in 2019 in Melbourne CBD


Q: Can you still get the flu after a flu shot?

Influenza vaccines will not give you the flu as the vaccines available in Australia do not contain ‘live’ virus. After vaccination, the person will develop antibody levels that are likely to protect them against the strains of virus represented in the vaccine.

Melbourne CBD and the Flu. Who can Get it?

Melbourne CBD and the Flu. Who can Get it?


Q: Who can get influenza?

People of all ages are susceptible to the flu, even those who are young and healthy. It is spread easily and can sweep through schools, nursing homes, businesses or towns.

Melbourne CBD Flu Vaccination 2019. Don't wait to be sick

Melbourne CBD Flu Vaccination 2019. Don’t wait to be sick


Q. Why is influenza vaccine given annually?

There are two main reasons for getting a yearly flu vaccine:

  • Flu viruses are frequently changing and vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and common circulating strains.
  • A person’s immune protection from influenza vaccination declines over time and annual vaccination is recommended.


Q. When is the best time to get vaccinated for the flu in 2019?

 Vaccination is best undertaken in autumn, (March-May) in anticipation of Australia’s peak flu season which is usually between June and September. If you want to book you Flu vaccination 2019 in Melbourne, please call 03 9944 6200 or visit Era Health Doctor Melbourne CBD for an online booking


Q. Does flu vaccine work right away?

No. Protection is usually achieved within 10 to 14 days of vaccination and there is evidence of increased immunity within a few days.

Melbourne Flu vaccinations 2019 and Kids

Melbourne Flu vaccinations 2019 and Kids

Q: What age can a child have the flu vaccine?

Children can be vaccinated from the age of 6 months. Please contact your healthcare professional for further information.



Get your 2019 flu shot!

The only reason to not have the Flu vaccination is if your child is under 6 months or for someone that has, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine. Every other reason has been thoroughly discredited. Of course, the flu vaccine is not perfect but has extremely good benefits. Some people think that they don’t need it because they are healthy and in a great form but it is important to get the Flu shot to help protect others in your community who are more vulnerable. If you catch the flu, you would be exposing other people or your friends new baby before you even realize you are sick.

Book Your Flu Vaccination 2019 In Melbourne Now!


Healthy Habits to Avoid Influenza

The best way to prevent influenza is to get in the habit of getting vaccinated every year.  It is also important to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers with these simple steps to help stop the spread of germs.

  • Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  When you are sick, avoid close contact with others to protect them from getting sick too.

  • Stay home when you are sick

If possible, stay home from work, school, daycare, and errands when you are sick.  You will help to prevent others from catching your illness.

  • Cover your mouth and nose

with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and put it in a rubbish bin.  If you don’t have a tissue, cover your mouth and nose as best you can.

  • Wash your hands often

How To Wash Your Hands to Avoid Influenza

How To Wash Your Hands to Avoid Influenza 2019 Melbourne

Hand Washing Instructions

  • Wash hands with soap and warm running water for at least 15 – 20 seconds.

  • Be sure to wash all parts of your hands including under your nails, around cuticles, palms, in between fingers, the back of your hands and wrists.

  • Rinse hands thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.

  • Turn off the tap with a paper towel.

  • Dry hands thoroughly with a clean paper towel.

  • Use the paper towel when opening the door to exit.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Sickness is often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

Other ways to stay healthy during this influenza season and all year round:

  • Get plenty of sleep   

  • Exercise regularly

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Eat nutritious foods    

Book your Flu Vaccination now at Era Health Doctor Melbourne CBD!

We are offering FLUQUADRI vaccines for extra coverage for this season. The Vaccinations are available right now and we are taking bookings on (03) 9944 6200 or you can visit our www.erahealth.com.au

For Medicare card holders, consultations are Bulk Billed with only the cost of the vaccination required to be paid.   


1.   Australian Government Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Ed (June 2015 http://www. immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home

2.  National Centre for Immunization Research & Surveillance) Factsheet; Influenza. July 2015. Available from http://ncirs.edu.au/assets/provider_resources/fact-sheets/influenza-fact-sheet.pdf

3.  INFLUENZA FACT SHEET March 2014 Available from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/ 

4. CDC. Preventing the Flu: Good Health habits can help stop germs CDC website available from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/ (accessed 30th October 2015)2015

How to get your HIV results in 30 minutes

HIV Rapid Test Melbourne

Get your HIV results in 30mins

Many people find it difficult to get checked for HIV status because of the long period it takes to get results. The common standard HIV testing takes up to 1 week for you get results. We provide HIV rapid testing at Era Health clinic in Melbourne. When visiting our men’s health clinic, you can be able to access instant HIV rapid testing upon placing a request. In the clinic you will access comprehensive health services focused on your individual health issues, be informed on disease prevention and health awareness. We serve men of all stages of life, helping them to reach their optimum health and providing them with on-site HIV rapid testing.

Why you should take an HIV rapid test?

Your health is very important, and we ensure you are in the best health possible. The HIV rapid test will only take 30mins to give you the results. The rapid HIV test has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Our Doctors at Era health clinics have undergone the required training for Rapid HIV testing according to TGA policy. We are one of the few clinics offering HIV rapid testing services, and you can book a HIV Rapid test right now by calling our clinic.

HIV rapid testing involves

The HIV rapid test requires just a few drops of blood from a finger prick. This test is “Alere HIV antibody/antigen reaction” that reacts in the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood, giving results within 30mins. The results can be reactive or non-reactive or inconclusive. Further testing, with the standard HIV testing, is required in case of reactive and inconclusive results from the HIV rapid test.




New and fast HIV screening at Era Health Melbourne CBD


New and fast HIV screening at Era Health Melbourne CBD


Melbourne Rapid HIV testing is conducted at Era Health, a one stop health clinic, located in the Melbourne CBD. The Rapid HIV test allows screening for HIV and will provide results in less than 30 minutes.

Screening is conducted using the 4th generation Alere Determine™ HIV – 1/2 Ag/Ab Combo test which is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use as point of care testing in Australia.

There is a window period of 14-90 days which allows detection of both the HIV-1 antigen & HIV-1/2 antibodies.

Consultations are conducted by trained doctors and are completely confidential for men and women seeking screening for Rapid HIV.

There is also a full range of HIV services are also available at Era Health including PEP, PrEP and full sexual health screenings. Era Health is committed to HIV medicine and in providing an environment which is safe and inclusive for all people of all backgrounds, origins, sexual orientations, and sex and gender identities.

To book or for further information, call (03) 9944 6200



PrEPX trial continuing at Era Health

PrEPX trial continuing at Era Health

The PrEPX trial is continuing in our clinic.  A/Prof John Gall will take over the management of all PrEPX patients and all other patients requiring PrEP to ensure continuity of care.  We will continue to provide on-site Rapid HIV testing and will be expanding our sexual health services to provide HIV prophylaxis (PEP) and other male and female sexual health services.  A new male and female doctor will be joining us in coming months to expand these services.