Last year’s flu season was particularly deadly, and this year’s season is now starting to pick up, say Banner Health Urgent Care physicians.

“We have definitely seen an uptick in the last few weeks in the number of flu cases,’’ said Devin Minior, MD, chief medical officer of Banner Urgent Care, which has locations throughout metro Phoenix.

Banner Urgent Cares are also treating patients who are suffering from upper respiratory viral infections, accompanied by cough, congestion, sinus and throat pain.

Minior offers this guide on how to tell if it is cold or the flu: “Flu is going to be an abrupt onset with high fever, achiness, feeling run down, associated chest pain with cough,’’ he said. Sore throats and sinus pain are less common with flu illnesses.

If it is flu and the patient comes in for treatment during the first days of the illness, the patient can be treated with an antiviral such as Tamiflu, Minior said.  

“It is generally effective in reducing the duration of symptoms. For younger or older patients or patients with underlying cardiac respiratory illnesses, there may be a benefit from antiviral therapy.’’

Tamiflu and other antiviral medications are available at Banner Urgent Care as is the flu vaccination.

Even if you think you have a cold, it may be a good idea to get it checked out, Minior said.

Most patients are in and out of a Banner Urgent Care within an hour. No appointment is necessary, but you can reserve a spot online ahead of time to make your wait time even shorter.