Cold or flu? Know the difference?



While the flu normally doesn’t blanket the country until late January or February, back-to-school season typically makes us begin to think about what we can do for prevention and treatment for our families.

Do you know the difference between the flu and the common cold?

They are caused by different viruses but can have some similar symptoms, making them tough to tell apart.

Here’s how:

Colds

Usual symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. Coughs are hacking and productive. It’s unusual to have fever, chills, headaches and body aches.

Flu

Fever usually is present, along with chills, headache and moderate-to-severe body aches and tiredness. Symptoms can come on rapidly, within three to six hours. Coughs are dry and unproductive, and sore throats are less common.

Prevention

To avoid both, wash your hands with warm water and soap after you’ve been out in public or around sick people. Don’t share cups or utensils. And get a flu vaccination.

Treatment

People with colds or mild cases of the flu should get plenty of rest and fluids. Those with severe symptoms, such as a high fever or difficulty breathing, should see a doctor and could be prescribed antiviral drugs.

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