By Pani Shoja, MD
Medical Director – Urgent Care Hawaii

Pani Shoja, MD

Pani Shoja, MD

The common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. The symptoms may be similar, but in general, the flu is worse and symptoms are more intense. In addition, the flu can result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections and even require hospitalization.

Flu season is upon us and if you haven’t already, please get your flu vaccine right away. Remember that it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to protect you. Don’t wait until it is too late and the flu starts circulating in the community, and you get the flu.

If you suspect you or a family member has the flu, come to Urgent Care Hawaii immediately where you may receive special tests (usually must be done within the first few days of the illness) and receive treatment.

How do you know if you have a cold or the flu?


  • Slow onset
  • Body aches
  • Rarely accompanied by fever and headache
  • Localized symptoms: sore throat, sinus congestion, runny nose, cough


  • Swift and severe onset
  • Chills, body aches, extreme fatigue
  • Acute chest discomfort with severe cough
  • Usually high fever (102 – 104 degrees F), headache, sore eyes, achy muscles

Along with a diet of fresh foods, plenty of water and getting plenty of fresh air and rest, here are some TIPS to help prevent catching a cold or the flu:

  • Replace hand towels daily.
  • Clean door handles, faucet handles, TV remotes, computer mouse and keyboard, telephones, (or any item that is touched often and by others) every day.
  • Wash hands several times a day in warm soapy water.
  • Change pillowcases several times a week.
  • Air out the house (but do not get chilled) every day.
  • Always use tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of properly. Wash hands after coughing and sneezing.
  • Keep hands and fingers away from eyes, nose and ears.
  • Always wash hands after using rest room and protect your hand with paper towel when grabbing door handles.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Stay away from sugar which is known to reduce immunity and feed bacteria and viruses. (Take special care with children who may have recently had an overdose of Halloween candy.)

It is always a good idea to discuss which over-the-counter medications are safe to take with your doctor. However, knowing when to stay home and when to see a doctor is very important. If you are experiencing symptoms plus shortness of breath and/or fevers, you may have a more serious type of respiratory infection (influenza, pneumonia or others).  This is the time to be seen by a healthcare provider that very same day.

Pani Shoja, MD
Urgent Care Hawaii
Medical Director

About Urgent Care Hawaii: Urgent Care Hawaii medical clinics provide immediate and urgent medical care on Oahu for Pearl City, Honolulu, Waikiki, Waipahu, Aiea, Kapolei, Kunia, Waipio, Makakilo, Halawa, Mililani, Kailua and Ewa Beach. The clinics provide quick and affordable options for people needing immediate medical care and treatment for common or everyday health problems seven days a week – no appointments are necessary. The Pearl City location is certified by The Urgent Care Association of America.

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Media Contact:
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1245 Kuala St., Pearl City, HI 96782
Office: (831) 920-2759
Cell/Text: (831) 521-8608