Do you have a cold or the flu?
During certain times in a year, you’re bound to experience the feeling of a cold or flu. Your nose suddenly turns stuffy, your head is pounding against the perceived barriers in your skin, your throat is extremely scratchy and you have no idea whether you have a cold or a seasonal flu.
The conundrum in distinguishing between flu and a cold arises because the symptoms for both these conditions overlap each other. You can either opt for going to a doctor – who will run a quick test with cotton swabs from the back of your throat or nose – or you can follow the basic guidelines we have here for identifying which one of the two you have and what you can do to tackle both of these infections.
How to Differentiate Viruses are the main reason behind both colds and flu. The virus for both of them may be different but the general cause behind the infections is virus. Moreover, both of these conditions are infections that end up limiting the respiratory functions of the human body.
The simplest method you can follow to find out the difference between both these infections is by having a look at your symptoms. Although, many of the symptoms are the same, the symptoms you suffer from can end up differentiating between the two.
Symptoms of a Cold If you have a cold, you will probably be suffering from the following symptoms:
A runny nose: Your nose will be running all day long and the basic mechanism to hold the residue back will not be working.
Sneezing: Sneezing is a common occurrence of colds and has the tendency to really shake you up.
Cough: Coughing is another condition that is part and parcel of having a cold. The cold will give you fits of coughs regularly.
Sore Throat: The constant sneezing, coughing and runny nose will mean that you eventually have a sore throat on your hands.
Headache: As the sneezing and the runny nose gain speed, the headache comes into the perspective. Your headache will be complemented by numerous body aches that will make you prone to the bed.
Mild Tiredness: All the hassles of managing a runny nose, going through a severe headache and pain all over the body specifies that you will eventually develop mild tiredness that can grow into fatigue if rest is compromised.
Symptoms of Flu Having talked about the common symptoms for cold, we now move on to the symptoms that are common with flu.
Dry Coughing: This is one of the biggest and most common symptoms that you will ever encounter with flu. Dry coughing can be troublesome if not taken care of.
Moderate or High Fever: Another symptom of flu is that you start suffering from a moderate or high fever. Although, it has been mentioned that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
Sore Throat: We mentioned above that dry coughing could lead towards a troublesome outcome if it keeps persisting. Well, the troublesome outcome from dry coughing is that of a Sore Throat.
Shaking Chills: Shaking chills is another inherent symptom of flu.
Headache: Headaches are common in flu’s, which is what makes them really tough to handle.
Severe Body Aches: One thing that both flu and colds have in common is the severity of the body aches. Body aches that come through flu can make you prone to bed and call your office or workplace for a day off.
Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and Vomiting are most common in children, as they have a tough time adjusting to the body aches, headaches, coughing fits and sore throat that comes along with flu.
While symptoms for flu are more severe, colds come on gradually and are considered to be mild. Colds usually take a couple of days to wear off, although some symptoms tend to last for a week.
Flu, on the other hand, can be extensive as it comes on quickly and brings with it sever changes to the body and its condition. A normal flu lasts 1 to 2 weeks since it is found out.
The Common Cold The common cold is an infection caused by a virus. More than 100 types of viruses can be the reason behind a common cold, but the rhinovirus is believed to be the main culprit most often and can make people cough, sneeze and sniffle. It is also highly contagious.
Although colds can be caused at any particular time of the year, they are extremely common during winter months. This is because viruses that cause cold tend to thrive in low humidity. Common colds can spread when a sick person coughs or sneezes, sending droplets flying through the air. You can even get sick if you touch a surface that was recently touched by an infected person.
Seasonal Flu Influenza, or the flu as we know it, is another illness present in the respiratory system. The flu is very seasonal and can hit anytime from fall to spring, peaking in the winter months. You can catch flu similar to how you catch a cold. If you com in contact with the surface a sick person had touched a while ago, you might end up getting the infection.
On the other hand, seasonal flu can turn tides and develop into a much more serious condition known as pneumonia. This can be true for young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with a weak immune system. To avoid such an impediment, it is best to treat the flu on time.