Columbus, OH,
16:53 PM

ABC6: Flu Season Starting but Currently Colds Are Common

Flu season typically ramps up around Thanksgiving and continues through the spring. However, physicians at OhioHealth Urgent Care report they aren’t seeing a lot of flu cases just yet. Instead, many patients are presenting with the common cold.

“Flu hasn’t been the dominant diagnosis,” Anthony Caton, MD, OhioHealth Urgent Care physician, recently told ABC6 reporter Geoff Redick.

But how do patients know if they have the flu or just a cold?

"The flu is going to present more dramatically, so you'll see higher temperatures, more fevers and chills," Dr. Caton said.

If you think you have the flu, Dr. Caton recommends a visit to an urgent care instead of an emergency room.

"Going to the emergency room should be reserved for more dramatic symptoms, like difficulty breathing," Dr. Caton said.

Prevention is key this time of year. It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, Dr. Caton said. Avoid sneezing or coughing directly into your hand – use your elbow or a tissue instead. And make sure to cover your mouth so you don't spread germs. Also, if you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, it's not too late!

Dr. Caton told ABC6 that a common misperception is that being out in the cold weather will make you sick. He said you actually have more of a risk of getting sick inside when you’re around contagious people and sharing germs – a reason so many people tend to get sick during the social holiday season.

Click here to read more on where to go – primary care, urgent care or emergency care – when medical issues arise.

To find an OhioHealth Urgent Care near you, click here. You can also ask Alexa or Google Home or find a location on the OhioHealth app.


OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007–2019.

Serving its communities since 1891, OhioHealth is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a system of 12 hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit