The difference between the flu and a bad cold
Wintertime is coming, which means that many people cough, sneeze and blow their nose. But if you or a loved one start showing these symptoms, how do you know if it is the flu or just a bad cold?
It is not easy to see the difference between the common cold and the flu, because the two conditions cause similar symptoms. They are also both viral diseases, but they are caused by different viruses.
Yet there are some symptoms that are more common in the cold than in the flu and vice versa. In general, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms. Here are some ways you can see if you have a cold or the flu:
- Symptoms of a cold usually occur gradually, while symptoms of flu can suddenly occur.
- Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat are more common in the cold than in the flu.
- People with flu usually develop a fever, people with a cold rarely.
- The flu often causes body aches and headaches, which can be severe. If you have a cold, the pain is usually mild.
- The flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections, but such complications are rare in the cold.
Regardless of whether you have a cold or flu, the disease usually disappears by itself, but you should visit your doctor if your symptoms change or get worse.
You can also get a seasonal flu vaccine every year to protect yourself against the flu. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to protect you against the common cold.
Washing your hands regularly can also help prevent the flu or getting a cold, since both conditions can occur from person to person through contact with infected people. If you get sick from a cold, it is important to stay hydrated and get enough rest to help your body recover.