Feb 19, 2017

Cold or Flu

This is the time of year there are many bugs going around to make us miserable. Worse yet, some come back during the same season. In general, flu symptoms tend to be more severe than cold symptoms, but do not last as long. Here are a few ways to tell whether you have a cold or the flu.

  • Symptoms of a cold usually come on gradually, but symptoms of the flu can appear suddenly.
  • Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are more common with colds than with the flu.
  • People with the flu usually develop a fever, but people with colds rarely do.
  • The flu often causes body aches and headaches, which can be severe. If you have a cold, aches are usually mild.
  • The flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections, but such compilations are rare with colds.
  • You can get a seasonal flu vaccine to reduce the severity of flu each year, but there is no vaccine to protect from the common cold.
  • Washing your hands frequently can help prevent either cold or flu.
There is no cure for the common cold, but relief includes: stay hydrated, get rest, soothe a sore throat, combat stuffiness, relieve pain. etc. All are common sense, and should help you feel better for the week or two it takes to shake that nasty cold. Antibiotics attack bacteria, but they are no help against cold viruses.

Antiviral medications do not cure, but can help alleviate some of flu symptoms, and many of the remedies for cold apply to the flu as well, including taking medicine for headaches. Flu symptoms usually are gone in a short time and do not linger as a cold does.

Regardless of whether you have a cold or the flu, the illness will usually go away on its own, but you should visit your doctor if your symptoms change or get worse. If you get either a cold or flu, please stay home and do not share.