‘Tis the season for more than just decorating, shopping and parties. It’s also the time of year when many people feel ill. Coughing, sneezing, and stuffy noses lead us to ask, “Is this a cold or do I have the flu?”
So, what is the difference? Both the flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because both can have some of the same symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on your symptoms alone.
This information from the Centers for Disease Control shows how similar many of the symptoms can be.
Signs & Symptoms: Cold or/ Flu
Symptom onset: Gradual / Abrupt
Fever: Rare / Usual
Aches: Slight / Usual
Chills: Uncommon / Fairly common
Fatigue: Weakness / Sometimes Usual
Sneezing: Common / Sometimes
Stuffy nose: Common / Sometimes
Sore throat: Common / Sometimes
Chest discomfort cough: Mild to moderate / Common
Headache: Rare / Common
In general, flu symptoms tend to be much worse, come on more quickly and are more intense than the common cold. Not only is the flu highly contagious but having the flu can also leam to very serious complications and therefore should be treated as soon as possible.
If you suspect that you have the flu, visit your local AFC today to be tested. We are open evenings and weekends, no appointment needed. And don’t let the common cold derail your daily routine either. We can assist you with your cold symptoms and get you back on track for a healthy holiday season!