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Cold or flu? Do you know the difference?

Knowing what to treat, the cold or the flu, is half the battle
Knowing what to treat, the cold or the flu, is half the battle

Feel an illness coming on? It is that time of year again. Figuring out what to treat yourself or a family member for can be difficult when you are not sure exactly what you are nursing. When it comes to the common cold and the flu virus, can you tell the difference?

Take a look at the symptoms of both illnesses to identify the differences, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

Common Cold Symptoms

• Runny/stuffy nose
• Sore throat
• Watery eyes
• Cough
• Mild headaches
• Mild body aches
• Sneezing
• Mild fever

See a doctor if a fever reaches higher than 100.4 F, symptoms last longer than ten days or when symptoms are not relieved by over the counter medication. Colds can lead into other respiratory infections if not taken care of properly. Remember to cover coughs and sneezes to keep from the spread of germs. Antibiotics should only be given if your doctor finds that you have a bacterial infection. Antibiotics will not help to cure a runny nose.

Flu symptoms

• High fever
• Extreme body aches
• Extreme headaches
• Extreme tiredness
• Sore throat
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Runny/stuffy nose

The flu usually comes on faster and stronger than a cold. Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting are more common among children than adults. If you experience these symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help the fight against the flu virus. Keeping hydrated is the key to staving off more complicated illnesses connected to the flu virus. Pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and bronchitis are common complications of the flu.