How do I Know if I have the Flu or a Bad Cold?

Author Topic: How do I Know if I have the Flu or a Bad Cold?  (Read 802 times)

Offline bipasha

  • Faculty
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 502
    • View Profile
How do I Know if I have the Flu or a Bad Cold?
« on: April 03, 2017, 10:33:34 AM »
Cold and influenza are the most common illnesses in people, according to an article published in The Lancet.

Every year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population in the United States develop flu symptoms. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu complications, and the flu is responsible for around 23,600 deaths every year.

Both the flu and a cold are caused by viruses, and they can have similar symptoms. So how do we know if a person has the flu or a bad cold?

The main indication is that symptoms of the flu are usually a lot more severe.

Contents of this article:

What is a cold?
Signs and symptoms of the flu
What to do if you have the flu
 Anti-flu vaccines and other types of protection
Some home remedies
What is a cold?[man with cold]
Both the flu and a cold are caused by viruses, and they can have similar symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult will have two to three colds every year. The rhinovirus is the most common cause.

Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, coughing and sneezing, watery eyes, a headache, and body aches.

There is no cure, except for resting and drinking plenty of fluids, but the cold should pass within 7 to 10 days. There is normally no need to visit a doctor, but a person with a weakened immune system is more prone to developing pneumonia as a complication.

To avoid catching or spreading a cold, people should wash their hands regularly and make sure they sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief, or into their elbow.

Signs and symptoms of the flu
There are three types of flu virus, influenza A, influenza B and influenza C. Types A and B viruses are the ones that cause seasonal epidemics.

One of the key symptoms of flu is feeling feverish or having a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above. However, not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

Other symptoms include:

Headaches or body aches
Vomiting, nausea, and possibly diarrhea, especially in children
Sore throat and a cough
A congested or runny nose
A common cold is less likely to cause a high fever. With a cold, symptoms such as a runny nose or throat irritation will normally improve within a few days.

The flu virus can cause a high fever lasting 3 to 4 days, and extreme fatigue can persist for weeks. Cold symptoms are generally milder. Runny nose or nasal congestion is more common with a cold.

What to do if you have the flu
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that most people who have the flu do not need medical attention.

[Girl with flu]
A person with the flu should stay at home to avoid spreading the disease.
Most can remain at home and avoid contact with other people, to prevent the disease from spreading. The CDC recommend staying at home until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone, except to get medical care.

Over-the-counter medications to reduce fever, such as Tylenol, can help.

Prescription antiviral flu drugs are also available from a physician. These are for people who are at high risk of serious complications.

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, but the flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Antiviral drugs are only effective if started within a certain time period after the onset of symptoms, so they are not always useful for improving symptoms or shortening the course of the illness.

A physician will be able to decide if antivirals are indicated in a particular case.

People who tend to be at greater risk including infants under the age of 2 years, people aged 65 years and older, and pregnant women.

People with the following health conditions may also be more prone to complications:

Asthma and chronic lung disease, such as COPD
Neurological disorders
Metabolic disorders
Heart disease
Morbid obesity
Children aged 18 years and younger who are taking aspirin long term
People with a weakened immune system, including those with AIDS, HIV, and cancer.
People in this higher risk group should see a doctor.

Patients should seek medical help if they notice any of the emergency warning signs.

Warning signs in infants include difficulty breathing, having no appetite, and not producing tears when they cry, or having fewer wet diapers than usual.

Severe symptoms in older children include:

Breathing problems
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or interacting
Being so irritable that they do not want to be held
Fever with a rash.
If flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and a worse cough, the parent should consult a physician.

Signs of serious illness in adults include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, confusion, and dizziness.