The common cold is bad enough but having the flu can leave you run down for weeks and can result in severe complications. Knowing the flu symptoms is the quickest way to tell if you’ve got a cold or the dreaded flu. Your general practitioner will be able to do a reliable test that gives you an accurate diagnosis but it helps to have a good understanding of the symptoms yourself. Today we’re going to explain the difference between cold and flu.
What Do Cold And Flu Have In Common?
Influenza and the common cold are both caused by viruses and they both infect the respiratory tract. The quickest way to know what you are suffering from is to visit your general practitioner for a test.
What’s The Difference Between Cold And Flu
What Are The Most Common Flu Symptoms?
Flu symptoms often come on quickly and can be severe. You may be sick with the flu for up to two weeks.
Flu symptoms can affect various parts of the body. Flu usually produces a hacking cough that is often (but not always) accompanied by a fever. You may experience body and muscle aches with chills. You may have a headache and a stuffy or runny nose. Flu is often accompanied by tiredness that can last for a few weeks. Some people may also experience nausea and vomiting.
If you think you have the flu it’s a good idea to visit your general practitioner for treatment within the first 48 hours of the symptoms appearing. Having the flu puts you at greater risk of developing complications than if you have a common cold. Pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and bronchitis are common but serious complications that can occur.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Common Cold?
The common cold usually produces symptoms that are mild and last for a few days. You should feel better within seven days.
Watery nasal secretions are associated with the common cold. If you have a cold you may experience sneezing and a runny nose. You may also have a sore throat and a cough. It may be accompanied by a headache and chills.
How Do You Know If It’s Cold Or Flu Symptoms?
One way to find out if you have the flu or a common cold is to take your temperature. While many of the cold and flu symptoms are similar, it’s unusual for a person to have a cold with a fever. Body and muscle aches are more common flu symptoms
How To Treat The Flu?
Getting vaccinated is an effective strategy to prevent yourself from contracting seasonal influenza. While it is not a guarantee that you won’t catch it, if you do, you should have milder symptoms. Your general practitioner can administer the flu vaccine. It is recommended that you have it in time for the peak of the flu season. It usually takes around three weeks before it offers you optimal protection.
If you do catch the flu it’s a good idea to isolate yourself so you do not pass it on. You are contagious from the day before you show symptoms, and this will last for at least five to seven days.
Hydration and fluids are the best course of treatment for the flu. Good rest is also helpful. You may want to consider decongestant medication and pain relief if you have a headache or body aches.
How To Treat The Common Cold?
Because the common cold is a viral infection antibiotics are not helpful in treating it. Most treatments are symptomatic and supportive. Vitamin C and D are believed to be effective at boosting immunity but most patients find that their symptoms improve within three to five days after they start.
Difference Between Cold And Flu: Healing And Recovery
The symptoms of a cold are likely to reach a peak around day three before they start to improve. Most patients will recover by days five to seven. Having a cold should not interfere with your day to day activities and you should be able to continue at your usual pace.
When you have the flu, it’s quite common to be sick for more than seven days and to experience protracted symptoms like tiredness for up to two weeks.
Taking a break and giving yourself a chance to rest can speed up your recovery.
When To Contact Your Doctor?
If you experience any of the following symptoms you should call your doctor straight away
- Trouble breathing
- A high or persistent fever
- A cough accompanied by green mucus
- Chest pains
- A very bad throat
Who Is At Risk?
If you experience worsening flu symptoms or you have symptoms that do not get better, you should contact your doctor. If you are over the age of 65, are pregnant, have a compromised immune system or experience any chronic health conditions you should always have your symptoms checked by a medical professional.
Knowing the difference between cold and flu can help you to get timeous medical treatment and avoid a serious complication. For help with your symptoms, please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9884 9300.
Flu or Cold Symptoms?
The Difference Between the Cold and Flu