What you need to know: the Common Cold vs. Influenza

Sneezing, headache, running nose and fever: these are some of the symptoms commonly associated with having flu. But is it really flu or are you just having a common cold? It may be difficult to determine the difference between the two. However, you must turn over in your minds that having colds does not always mean having influenza.

The common cold

common-cold

Influenza and common colds have almost the same symptoms. But as the name implies, common cold are often seasonal which is the primary cause of your doctor visits. Common colds are also generally mild. When you have common colds, you frequently experience sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat, hacking and productive cough. Some mild symptoms that we can also have would include fever, tiredness, and sometimes moderate chest discomforts.

Common colds usually last up to two weeks.

Influenza

Both common cold and influenza are caused by viral infections which mean that there is no need to take antibiotics. Usually, influenza has the same symptoms with common colds. In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, you might also experience having fever, chills and headache. Having influenza would make you feel severely tired with chest discomfort and your cough can be more intense.

These symptoms can already be present at the onset within three to six hours. However, because of the severity of the symptoms, especially when you are experiencing any of the following: difficulty in breathing, discoloration of lips, chest pain, sudden dizziness and persistent vomiting, do not hesitate to seek medical attention right away.

In most cases, influenza is worse than common cold since it could lead other serious health complications.

Prevention and Cure 

Since both flu and common cold are viral infections, it can spread from person to person. It is important that you have to stay at home and have some rest. Getting a cold or flu may be prevented by washing your hands with soap and water. Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold or flu. Drinking a lot of fluids is also very important to stay hydrated and loosen the mucus.  Over-the-counter medications like decongestants and antihistamines can also be helpful. Furthermore, doctors have recommended getting flu shot or vaccines are also for seasonal influenza.

 

 

References:

http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-or-flu

http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/symptoms/

Author: Aaron Jay Lev

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