The cold and flu season is mainly in Autumn (Fall), but these are not the same
illnesses. They are often confused because they sometimes start in the same way, but
even down to the symptoms, they can be quite different. Take a look at these
similarities and differences between cold and flu symptoms.
With the flu, expect to experience your symptoms for a longer period of time, and often
more severely. It may start similar to a cold, with a sore throat, cough, and congestion.
However, the flu often leads to bad headaches, a high fever, worse cough, and muscle
aches and pains. You may also notice that as the flu progresses, you start 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.
Often, you know you feel ill but are not sure if you have the cold or the flu. The
reason this is an important distinction is because they are treated somewhat differently,
and while the cold is something you can handle at home, many cases of the flu require
seeing a doctor. With a cold, the symptoms tend to be less severe, and often include
congestion, a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. You might have a slight fever, but it is
often not too severe. You may notice these symptoms for a few days or up to a week.
The cold usually lasts fewer days than the flu.
Treating the Cold v the Flu
If you think you have the cold or flu, you might want to see a doctor in either case. With
a common head cold that doesn’t 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 the flu,
your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or other medications, and hospitalization may be
required in more severe cases.
If you have either the cold or flu with vomiting and/or diarrhea, make sure you see a doctor. Vomiting and diarrhea
can increase your risk of dehydration, so if you can’t even keep fluids down, you will become quite
unwell and a visit to the doctor is strongly advised.