• A cold is simply a minor respiratory ailment and not very infectious. A flu on the other hand can be life threatening to the individual and the people around, if certain strains are left untreated.
  • The flu is worse than a cold in terms of intensity and symptom distress.
  • Fever is the main difference in symptoms. A cold is also contagious, but usually passes in 3 days. They don't have a treatment for cold. They just treat the symptoms because there are over 200 different cold viruses. And most otc meds are a waste of money. I hope you get to feeling better soon.
  • Flu, short for influenza, is a class of viruses that cause high fever, chills, respiratory and digestive distress, and can lead to pneumonia. The cold is a larger group of rhinovirus, adenovirus, coronavirus, and other classes, that typically cause milder respiratory symptomsand often low grade fever.
  • What are common cold symptoms? Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold. With cold symptoms, the nose teems with watery nasal secretions for the first few days. Later, these become thicker and darker. Dark mucus is natural and does not usually mean you have developed a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection. What are common flu symptoms? Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of fluinclude sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Influenza — or the flu, as it’s better known — is another upper respiratory illness. Unlike a cold, which can hit at any time of year, the flu is generally seasonal. Flu season usually runs from fall to spring, peaking during the winter months. During flu season, you can catch the flu in the same way you’d pick up a cold: By coming into contact with droplets spread by an infected person. You’re contagious starting one day before you get sick and up to 5 to 7 days after you show symptoms. The seasonal flu is caused by the influenza A, B, and C viruses, with influenza A and B being the most common types. Active strains of influenza virus vary from year to year. That’s why a new flu vaccine is developed each year. Unlike the common cold, the flu can develop into a more serious condition, such as pneumonia. This is especially true for: young children older adults pregnant women people with health conditions that weaken their immune system, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes How to treat the flu In most cases, fluids and rest are the best ways to treat the flu. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, may control your symptoms and help you feel better. However, never give aspirin to children. It can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs — oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), or peramivir (Rapivab) — to treat the flu. These drugs can shorten the duration of the flu and prevent complications such as pneumonia. However, they may not be effective if not started within 48 hours of getting sick. When to call a doctor If you’re at risk of complications from the flu, call your doctor when you first have symptoms. People at risk of serious complications include: people over the age of 65 pregnant women women who are two weeks postpartum children under age of 2 children under age 18 taking aspirin those with weakened immune systems due to HIV, steroid treatment, or chemotherapy people who are extremely obese people with chronic lung or heart conditions people with metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, anemia, or kidney disease people living in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes Contact your doctor right away if your symptoms do not improve or if they become severe. See your doctor if you have signs of pneumonia, including: trouble breathing severe sore throat cough that produces green mucus high, persistent fever chest pain Call a doctor right away if your child develops the following symptoms: trouble breathing irritability extreme fatigue refusing to eat or drink trouble waking up or interacting Staying healthy The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot. Most doctors recommend getting the flu vaccine in October or at the very start of flu season. However, you can still get the vaccine in late fall or winter. The flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu and can make the illness less severe if you do catch the flu. To avoid picking up the flu virus, wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. Try to stay away from anyone who has the flu or flu-like symptoms. It’s important to adopt healthy habits to keep cold and flu germs at bay. You should always make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and manage your stress during cold and flu season and beyond. What Causes the Stomach Flu and How is it Treated? Sorry, the video player failed to load. (Error Code: 104153) Last medically reviewed on May 30, 2019 12 sourcescollapsed Medically reviewed by Cameron White, MD, MPH — Written by Rena Goldman and Stephanie Watson — Updated on March 28, 2020 related stories Can Fasting Fight the Flu or Common Cold? How to Treat a Cold or Flu When You’re Pregnant The 15 Best Foods to Eat When You're Sick Why 1 in 4 Parents Are Hesitant to Have Their Children Vaccinated Against the Flu Why Seeing a Doctor Within 48 Hours of Flu Symptoms Is Critical

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