Cold and flu, are not the same illnesses. They are often confused because they sometimes start in the same way, but even down to the symptoms, they can be quite different. They both affect the respiratory system and this includes the throat, nose, airway and lungs.
Take a look at these similarities and differences between cold and flu symptoms. A cold and the flu are viral infections but caused by different viruses.
Many times, you know you feel ill but are not sure if you have a cold or the flu. The reason this is an important distinction is that they are treated somewhat differently, and while the cold is something you can handle at home, many cases of the flu require seeing a doctor.
With a cold, the symptoms tend to be less severe, and often include congestion, a runny nose, green/yellow nasal discharge, cough, sneezing, headache, watery eyes, sore throat and symptoms develop slowly. You might have a slight fever up to 102F, but it is often not too severe. You may notice these symptoms for a few days or up to a week. The cold usually last fewer days than the flu.
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With the flu, expect to experience your symptoms for a longer period of time, and often more severely. Symptoms appear suddenly and more intense. It may start similar to a cold, with a sore throat, cough, and congestion. However, the flu often leads to bad headaches, a high fever over 102F, worse cough, nausea, chills&sweat, poor appetite and muscle aches and pains especially bag, legs and arm.
You may also notice that as the flu progresses, you start experiencing severe fatigue, to where you can barely get out of bed and move around. Some people with the flu may also experience diarrhea and vomiting. Since you are at risk for dehydration with the flu, you should see a doctor for proper treatment.
Treating the Cold VS the Flu
If you think you have a cold or flu, you might want to see a doctor in either case. With a common head cold that doesn’t get better in a few days, it is good to see a doctor and find out if it might be a sinus infection, flu, or other illness. Treating a head cold often includes getting plenty of fluids, rest, and treating your various symptoms.
With the flu, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or other medications, and hospitalization may be required in more severe cases. If you have either the cold or flu with vomiting and/or diarrhea, see a doctor. This can increase your risk of dehydration, so if you can’t even keep fluids down, you might need medical treatment.
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