The Difference Between A Cold And The Flu

October 19, 2018


We use the terms interchangeably but there are many differences between an upper respiratory infection, better known as a cold and the flu (influenza) and spotting those differences can be tricky and complicate treatments. However there are some predictable differences. Colds usually take a few days to build up, are most common in early fall and spring but can happen any time of the year. While the flu is usually confined to the winter and comes on more abruptly with many falling sick from the flu in a few minutes. A cold typically lasts about three to five days, while a flu tends to linger about twice that long. A fever is much more common among flu patients, and the same is true of headaches, body aches and a dry cough. On the other hand, if you have a cough that produces a lot of fluid or mucous, you have a sore throat and you’re sneezing or dealing with a runny nose or head congestion, all of those symptoms are more typical of colds. A stomachache, diarrhea, and other GI symptoms can crop up in kids, but they’re not common among adults suffering from either a cold or flu. If you have these symptoms, you’re probably dealing with a stomach virus or a food-borne illness. While the common cold and flu can seem quite alike, there’s one very important distinction, one is deadly, and the other is not. Influenza kills about 35,000 Americans per year, whereas colds rarely cause lasting harm. Finally one other common trait of the cold and flu is that they are caused by a virus ad therefore antibiotics are ineffective in treatment. Time, rest and plenty of water and other fluids are the only true cures for a cold and flu.


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