How to tell the difference between the common cold and the flu


In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, photo, certified pharmacy technician Peggy Gillespie fills antibiotics into a syringe for use as an I.V. push at ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. A nasty flu season is hitting U.S. hospitals already scrambling to maintain patient care amid severe shortages of crucial sterile fluids, particularly saline solution needed […]

The common cold and the flu can sometimes be confused because of their similar symptoms, but there are ways to tell which one you actually have.

According to doctors, typically flu symptoms tend to start faster and are a little more severe than your common cold. Usually with the flu you’ll see a high fever, chills, muscle aches, a cough and nasal congestion. You may also see these symptoms with a cold, but doctors said they are more flu related. Doctors want to remind you that the flu and the cold are two different illnesses and the cold cannot lead to the flu. Dr. Johnny Walker with Access Health said never let an illness go unchecked. 

“One important thing to remember is it is possible to get a bacterial pneumonia type infection at the end of the flu. The flu should typically last about 5 to 10 days with symptoms starting to get better as the week goes on. If you do notice your symptoms starting to get worse even if you’ve been diagnosed with the flu it’s always important to go back to your doctor to make sure you don’t have pneumonia or any other conditions that can develop as a result of the flu,” Dr. Walker said.

Doctors said there are a lot of great steps people can take to help prevent the flu. Getting your flu shot can really help as well as washing your hands frequently. If you think you have the flu, go see your primary care provider within the first 24 to 48 hours of symptoms. 

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