Is it a cold or the flu? Know how to tell the difference between them

When you have a bad cough, are sneezing a lot and have other flu like symptoms, sometimes it can be hard to differentiate whether you have a cold or the flu. Understanding how both affect the body can be the difference between taking a little bit of? medication and resting or having to take a trip the the emergency room.

Colds are typically a mild illness that only last a few days and will eventually pass. You may only feel sick for a short period of time. The flu, however, can last up to weeks and can result in major health issues which end up leading to hospitalization and pneumonia. The flu is something that should be taken very serious and is sometimes not. Once you have contracts the flu, you could be sick for much longer than you anticipated.


How can you tell the difference between a cold and flu?

Symptoms of having cold or the flu are very similar. This is why many people have a tough time understanding which one they are being affected by. Body aches, headaches, fatigue, fever, stuffy nose, chest discomfort and sinus pain are something you may see in both a common cold or the flu. This is why it can be hard to determine which one has been contracted.

One rule of thumb that many go by is keeping a close eye on a fever and temperature. Your typically cold will rarely rise over 101?. If your temperate comes close to or goes above this number, there?s a chance you have the flu. Whether a digital or analog, investing a good thermometer will be helpful to making decisions about this topic. Make sure you understand how to properly use your thermometer since there are variations of oral, ear, rectal and others. Use the thermometer as directed.


What should you do once your fever reaches these temperatures?

Anytime a temperature breaks this tipping point of 101?, you should call your doctor immediately. Continue to monitor the temperature closely and drink plenty of water. Drinking room temperature water, or even slightly heating the water up may help your digestive system easily process it better. Try to avoid drinking caffeine such as teas and coffee as they will dehydrate you. Hydration is the key to maintaining your bodies stable condition.


What can I do to prevent contracting the flu?

While many people and doctors recommend a number of different things, the best way to prevent any type of sickness is regularly washing your hands. Germs will typically enter a person’s body through mouth, eyes and nose. When you have dirty hands your body is more susceptible to spreading these germs into your system. Make sure to use warm water and a little soap, especially if you?re outside of your house. One rule of thumb is to always wash your hands immediately when you arrive home. This will help prevention of germs spreading throughout your house.

Also make sure to keep your hands away from the areas where germs enter the body as much as possible. Though it’s nearly impossible to completely keep your hands away, try your best to do so. These are the 2 most simple ways to help prevent contracting a spreading the flu and colds.


Photo courtesy of Xavier Sotomayor from Unsplash

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