Is your head pounding, throat is scratchy and nose feels stuffy? Are you wondering whether you have encountered the flu or a common cold? It is not usual to mistake between these two conditions as certain symptoms overlap. Thus, unless your physician conducts a quick test, it is tough to be completely certain. Check out some of the following guidelines for finding the differences between flu and common cold so that you can take appreciates remedial measure.
How to detect the difference between these two conditions?
Both cold, as well as flu, is caused by viruses. Another similarity between the two is that they are both infections in the respiratory tracts. The easiest way to differentiate between these two conditions is to look closely at your symptoms.
When you have a cold, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
On the other hand, flu symptoms are more severe, such as:
- Vomiting and nausea (more common with children)
- Severe fatigue or tiredness lasting for about a fortnight
- Runny and stuffy nose
- A headache
- Severe body or muscle aches
- Shaking chills
- A sore throat
- Moderate or high fever*
- A dry and hacking cough
*However, you may note that all people suffering from flu may not have a fever
Colds may go away slowly after a few days. They are usually milder in nature as compared to flu. If you have a cold, you may recover within a week. However, the symptoms may persist for a fortnight or so. On the other hand, symptoms of flu can catch up fast and can be quite severe. Even they last for about one to two weeks. You should use these symptoms mentioned above as a reference to understand what condition you are suffering from. In case you feel that you have flu, you need to visit a physician to get tested. The test should be performed within the first two days of the symptoms.
An infection caused in the upper respiratory tract by a virus is referred to as common cold. There are over one hundred different viruses that can infect you with the common cold. Yet, it is the rhinovirus that makes people sniffle and sneeze. Plus, it is highly contagious in nature. While a person can catch a cold irrespective of a season or a month, the infection is more widely spread during the winter season. The reason for this is a majority of the viruses that cause cold multiply more when humidity is low.
Flu or influenza is another illness in the upper respiratory tract. However, contrary to the common cold that can hit in all months of a year, influenza is usually seasonal. The season for flu typically continues from fall season to spring. Yet, it is at its peak during the winter season. When the flu season is on, a person may catch influenza, in the same manner, he or she could have picked up the common cold. Both are caught while being in close contact with an infected person who spreads droplets while sneezing or coughing.