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Could It Be Flu or a Cold? What You Have and How to Tell


How can you tell whether you have flu symptoms if you have been sneezing, coughing, or aching? Although these two phrases have long been used synonymously, they are actually distinct. While there are many ways to describe the signs and symptoms of a sickness, it's critical to distinguish between the ordinary cold and influenza. If you've mistaken the ordinary cold for influenza. This post is for you, if it is challenging for you to differentiate between the two since they both produce symptoms that are similar and frequently overlap


Knowing the Differences Between the Common Cold And The Flu

Dr. Agam Vora, a cardiologist at Vile Parle's Advanced Multi Specialty Hospitals (West). According to Dr. R.N. Cooper Municipal General Hospital's Assoc. Hon. & In-Charge of Chest & TB, "We observe an increase in viral illnesses, such as the flu and the common cold, with seasonal changes and abrupt changes in the weather. To treat illnesses efficiently and hasten the healing process, it is crucial to understand the variations between ailments. Additionally, in order to prevent these seasonal diseases, it's crucial to comprehend and implement preventative actions in order to maintain people's health and safety."

In order to receive the appropriate medical treatment they need, it's critical for patients to quickly be able to differentiate between a cold and the flu. Fortunately, Dr. Vora's explanation of the differences between the two makes a few crystal-clear contrasts between them that should be remembered.


Common Cold vs. influenza

Here are the main four distinctions between the flu and a cold:

1. Both the common cold and the flu are caused by different viruses, but they can spread through direct contact and bodily secretions like saliva or liquids from coughing or sneezing. Different strains or varieties of the influenza virus particularly cause the flu, but a common cold can result from a number of viruses, the most prevalent of which is the rhinovirus. Consulting a doctor is advised to determine whether someone is suffering from the flu. They will evaluate one's symptoms and possibly suggest getting tested to find out the virus's type.

2. Symptoms of the flu start more suddenly than those of a cold and advance more swiftly. There are also differences in how symptoms first manifest. It usually gets better within a week for cold symptoms. The symptoms of the flu may gradually subside over the course of two to five days, but they may linger for as long as a week.

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3. The two illnesses have a number of comparable symptoms, including body pains, fatigue, headaches, runny or stuffy noses, sore throats, and coughs. Contrary to a cold, however, the flu can occasionally also be accompanied with a high temperature (commonly 101 degrees Fahrenheit or more). Another defining trait is chills (shivering or shaking), which are common with influenza but not with colds. Flu symptoms tend to be more severe than cold symptoms most of the time.

4. The flu may lead to problems that are possibly more dangerous than those caused by a cold. In particular, influenza can worsen into a severe condition needing hospitalization in at-risk individuals with coexisting disorders including lung or heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. Lung infections or pneumonia are other issues that are connected.

For needed care to be guided, it is essential to comprehend these disparities. It is critical to keep in mind that preventative steps can be performed. Understanding the precautions to take this season to avoid these problems can thus be useful.

Flu symptoms might include a fever, feeling feverish or chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscular or body pains, headaches, and exhaustion (tiredness). The signs and symptoms of a cold are often less severe than those of the flu. Runny or stuffy noses are more common in cold sufferers.

Similar to the flu, a common cold can include body pains, a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, and coughing. In contrast to the flu, you seldom have a temperature and don't have chills or sweating.

How Can I Prevent the Flu and the Common Cold?

The WHO lists immunization as one of the most important methods for lowering flu infections. It is advisable to do this each year since the immunological protection offered by the flu vaccination might diminish with time. Annual injections strengthen defense against the evolving influenza virus, which structure varies each year, according to WHO recommendations. Although the common cold cannot be prevented by vaccine, maintaining good hygiene is crucial to remaining healthy

Director of Medical Affairs at Abbott, Dr. Jejoe Karankumar, stated, "We can enable individuals to defend themselves and others from such disorders by educating the populace on the necessity of a range of preventative measures against respiratory ailments, including immunization. This can help people with underlying diseases, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups avoid needless issues in the future."

Other typical methods to delay the development of the flu and the common cold include:

Wash hands more frequently (for at least 20 seconds)
avoiding touching one's eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands while minimizing close contact with others who are sick with the flu or a cold.
Keep a watch on the signs and, if necessary, seek medical attention

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