Wellness Wednesdays: A cold or the flu?

At this time of the year many people are getting sick but not everyone knows exactly what is wrong with them. You could be experiencing change-of-season sinusitis, have a cold or the flu. The common cold and the flu are both contagious viral respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms – the main difference being the severity of the symptoms.

A common cold is, by definition, common and most people will suffer from one two to three times a year. It will slow you down and you will feel very groggy but the flu is much more severe and it will be almost impossible to get out of bed. The flu can progress into pneumonia so should definitely be checked out by a doctor so that he or she can prescribe the best course of action.

We highlight the symptoms of both below to help you decide what illness you have and next week we will be discussing treatments for both.

Symptoms of the flu

  • ┬áCome on quickly and are severe.
  • Include fever, which tends to be higher and last longer (3 to 4 days) than the occasional low-grade fever that may accompany a cold.
  • Include body aches and severe tiredness or fatigue.

Symptoms of the common cold

  • Gradually get worse over a few days.
  • Are more likely to include runny or stuffy nose than the flu.
  • Often include a sore throat, while flu rarely does.
  • May cause tiredness, but it is much less severe than the exhaustion that comes with the flu.
  • Do not usually result in serious health problems and hospitalizations.

There are also tests available to diagnose the flu but these do not exist for the cold.

Do you suffer from colds or the flu a lot? What are the symptoms that you experience? Do you have any tips for us to include in next week’s post?