Cold or Flu? A Few Key Differences

It can be tricky to recognize the differences between cold and flu symptoms. But while many symptoms are similar, there are a few identifiers that set them apart.

cold or flu

Initial Symptoms
Usually, the first symptom of a cold is an irritated throat. Next, you may develop a cough or runny nose. As for flu, when it initially strikes, you will probably experience muscle aches, fatigue and a fever. These symptoms can frequently segue into others discomforts including sore throat, ear aches, croup, or pneumonia and/or bronchitis.

Progressing Symptoms
The cold and flu share many of the same symptoms, yet they contrast in seriousness. A cold’s symptoms typically escalate more gradually than those of the flu. Flu often lasts longer, too, sometimes lingering for a couple weeks. (Colds usually dissipate in a few days.)

Fever and chills can occasionally occur with a cold but are far more typical of flu. Up to 80 percent of all flu cases introduce a temperature of at least 100 degrees for 3 to 4 days. And while a cold may bring on some mild aches and pains, flu is marked by more severe versions. Muscle aches and headaches are telltale signs of flu.

Treatment
There is not a cure for either the cold or flu. Recovery is usually accomplished by allowing the sicknesses to run their natural course. Ways to support a healthy recovery include plenty of rest and drinking a lot of fluid.

Decongestants and pain relievers (fever reducers) can help. Doctors can also prescribe antiviral medications where appropriate to help diminish the effects of the flu.

Prevention
There are several ways to avoid the cold or flu. Regularly washing your hands and avoiding touching your face with your hands confines the spread of germs. The cold and flu are frequently spread from the hands to the mouth.

Good health also minimizes sickness. Staying healthy by eating properly, working out, getting plenty of rest, etc. help keep your immune system in prime condition to fend off potential sicknesses.