How To Tell The Difference Between The Flu And A Cold

Woman with runny nose
The flu symptoms appear suddenly.
Woman with runny nose
The flu symptoms appear suddenly, and they can cause complications.

During wintertime, people always have a hard time trying to figure out whether they caught a cold or worse, the flu. The CDC specialists say that it’s difficult to make the distinction between these two conditions because they have similar symptoms.

More precisely, regardless of whether someone has been affected by a cold or the flu, that person sneezes, coughs, and has a running nose. As such, the best way to see if you contracted the influenza virus is to visit your health care provider.

By getting a diagnostic test, you will find out if you have a common cold or the flu. Nevertheless, the CDC experts underline the fact that although the flu test reveals if someone has contracted the influenza virus, the treatment is pretty much the same as in the case of a common cold.

Still, it is worth mentioning that some symptoms occur more often with common colds and others with the flu. For example, flu symptoms are usually more severe than the symptoms of a common cold.

That is why the CDC decided to provide Americans with reliable info to help them make the distinction between the influenza and a cold. When you have a cold, the symptoms appear gradually, whereas the flu manifests suddenly and more severe.

Symptoms like a sore throat, sneezing, and a stuffy nose appear more often with common colds, whereas those who have the flu experience fever, a symptom which rarely occurs in patients with colds. In addition, the influenza virus causes headaches and body aches, but if you have caught a cold, these aches are most often mild.

The influenza virus can cause severe complications, including bacterial infections and pneumonia, whereas such complications rarely occur in patients with colds. Nevertheless, most patients usually recover in a few weeks without long-term consequences.

In case you caught a cold, and the symptoms get worse or change, then you should contact your doctor. Seasonal flu vaccines are also available, especially during this time of the year, when the influenza season is expected to reach its peak.

However, there is no vaccine against common colds. The best way to prevent both illnesses is to wash your hands frequently. In case you get sick, do your best to remain hydrated. Also, you should rest to give your body time to recover.

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