How to tell if it’s a cold or flu—but get help either way

By November 21, 2019 February 21st, 2020 Uncategorized
Sick young woman struggling with a cold.

Suddenly, you’re tired. Dog tired. Your throat is getting scratchy, and you feel the sniffles coming on. For sure, the cold and flu season is upon us right now. And it’s important to your health, and the health of everyone around you, to recognize the symptoms early. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two because many of the symptoms are similar.

During this flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there have already been as many as 30,000 flu deaths in the United States alone. It’s easy to recognize cold and flu symptoms and important not to ignore them.

So how can I tell if I’ve got a cold or a nasty case of the flu?

One of the most noticeable differences between the cold and the flu is fever. The flu is almost always accompanied by a fever but a cold rarely shares this symptom. Similarly, flu is more likely to give you chills and a headache than a cold. However, a cold is more likely to present symptoms such as a sore throat or runny nose.

Although these symptoms can be distinguishing, they are not absolute indicators of either virus. Both the common cold and the flu are respiratory virus infections and they can share many of the same symptoms even when they are less common. Contrary to popular beliefs, cold weather does not actually cause either illness. However, it can make it easier to contract either of them because people stay indoors more when it is cold where they can come in close contact with other people and their germs.

How to treat colds and flu, and how to prevent them in the first place

The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over the age of six months—especially people with compromised immune systems. However, it’s important to consult with your primary physician to determine the best vaccine for you or your family or if you are not eligible for the vaccine.

For patients experiencing symptoms, a nasal swab is a fast, painless way to determine whether you have a cold or flu. The test takes a few minutes and your doctor can quickly prescribe the proper treatment for your condition.

Whether you are needing a seasonal flu shot or a checkup to address symptoms you are experiencing, it is important to seek treatment when you first start feeling sick. LifeBrite operates three preventive care clinics in Stokes County to meet the healthcare needs of your family. LifeBrite operates family practices in Danbury and Pine Hall and a pediatric clinic in Danbury, so come in and see us if the sniffles start for you or your family!

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early and LifeBrite Laboratories. To learn more about LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, visit our homepage.