This year’s flu season has been very severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the peak of the flu season is still a few weeks away.
Getting a flu vaccination and frequently washing your hands can help you from getting sick. However, practicing cold and flu prevention isn’t a 100 percent guarantee you won’t get a cold or the flu.
If you do get sick this season, you might wonder which of the two illnesses you have. Learn the different symptoms of colds and flu — and what you can do to feel better.
Tips for Prevention
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
Wash your hands frequently
Clean surfaces with a germ-killing disinfectant
- If you have flu symptoms, do not go to work or school to help lessen the chance of infecting others.
Cold Versus Flu: What’s the Difference?
Cold symptoms and treatment
Colds usually start with a sore throat. By day four or five, a stuffy, a runny nose and cough are common. Children are also most likely to get a fever.
You can treat colds with over-the-counter decongestants, pain relievers and fever reducers. If symptoms don’t improve in a week, you can contact Teladoc to rule out a sinus infection or allergies.
Flu symptoms and treatment
Anyone with the flu can experience the following symptoms: a sore throat, cough, muscle aches, headache, high fever (100 degrees and up) and congestion. Flu can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Flu-related weakness and fatigue are also common and can last up to three weeks.
Flu complications and treatment
Some flu symptoms, like chest discomfort and a cough, can lead to pneumonia. The elderly and anyone with heart and lung problems are at the highest risk for pneumonia — watch for shortness of breath and a fever that goes away and returns a day or two later. Flu can also lead to sinusitis, ear infections and bronchitis.
Flu may be treated with over-the-counter decongestants, pain relievers and fever reducers — or prescription antiviral drugs. Pneumonia can result in hospitalization, so it’s important to practice flu prevention.