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Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Cold and Flu Season is here! When you wake up sneezing, coughing, and have that achy, feverish, can’t move a muscle feeling, how do you know whether you have cold symptoms or the flu?

 

It’s important to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms. A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu can also result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.

So how can you tell the difference?

Colds tend to start with a sore throat and progress to the congestion, runny nose and cough that we all hate.With cold symptoms, the nose teems with watery nasal secretions for the first few days. Later, these become thicker and darker. Dark mucus is natural and does not usually mean you have developed a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection.

If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly and include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but can cause fatigue and soreness for days after.  The real danger in the flu is the possibility of pneumonia, a risk that is increased in children and the elderly.

If you have fever with severe aches and pains you probably have the flu. If you have a sore throat and runny nose it is most likely a cold.

Whether you have a cold or flu, it is important to stay home and rest to avoid spreading germs and to help your body recover. If your symptoms last more than a few days or your symptoms are getting severe such as a very high fever or having trouble breathing it is time to see a doctor.