The cold and flu season typically occur during the fall and winter months. Both the common cold and flu are respiratory illnesses that are often confused with one another because they share many of the same symptoms. Although both illnesses share similar symptoms, they are quite different with one being more severe than the other. Look at the similarities and differences between cold and flu symptoms.
Many times, you may feel ill but are not sure if you have a cold or the flu. Determining if you have a cold or the flu is important because they are treated differently, while the cold is something you can handle at home, many cases of the flu require seeing a doctor. Cold symptoms tend to be mild and often include congestion, a runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. You might have a slight fever, but it generally is not severe. You may notice these symptoms for a few days or up to a week. The common a cold usually lasts for a much shorter period than the flu.
With the flu, expect to experience symptoms like that of a cold but much more intense and for symptoms to last longer than the common cold. It may start like a cold, with a sore throat, cough, and congestion. However, the flu often leads to severe headaches, a high fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches and pains. You may also notice that as the flu progresses, you begin experiencing severe fatigue, to where you can barely get out of bed and move around. Some people with the flu may also experience diarrhea and vomiting. Since you are at risk for dehydration with the flu, you should see a doctor for proper treatment.
Treating the Cold VS, the Flu
If you think you have a cold or the flu, you might want to see a doctor in either case. With a common head cold that does not get better in a few days, it is good to see a doctor and find out if it might be a sinus infection, flu, or other illness. Treating a head cold often includes getting plenty of fluids, rest, and treating your various symptoms with natural or over-the-counter remedies. With the flu, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or other medications, and hospitalization may be required in more severe cases.
If you have either a cold or flu and you are experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhea, see a doctor. This can increase your risk of dehydration, so if you are unable to keep fluids down, you should seek medical attention.