Colds vs. flu - what's the difference?

Conditions
Jun 03, 2017
Conditions

Colds vs. flu - what's the difference?

Have you got a cold, or have you been hit by the flu virus? It’s a question many of us ask – although when we’re ill, we don’t always have the brain power or energy to think too hard about it!
 
So what is the difference between a cold and flu? Just use our handy guide

What is a cold?

Incredibly, there are more than 100 viruses that can cause a cold. And once it takes hold, you know what dreaded symptoms to expect:

  • runny nose (with mucus turning from white to green)
  • blocked nose
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • sneezes
  • sniffles
  • general feeling of 'blah'

You may also have a fever and fatigue, and experience symptoms for up to a week or even longer.

What is a flu?

Perhaps the reason we get confused about colds and flu is because they have the same symptoms.
 
However, a flu will usually hit you harder and faster. It’s also usually accompanied by:

  • high fever of up to 40 degrees Celsius
  • sore and aching muscles
  • extreme fatigue
  • dry cough
  • sweats
  • chills
  • headache

Severe flu symptoms can be problematic. So if you also have extreme headaches, chest pain, an unusually high fever, or also have a chronic disease like asthma, you should seek medical attention immediately.

How to treat a cold or flu

Whether you have a cold or flu, basic treatment is the same – get some rest, drink plenty of water, and avoid sugar and alcohol. You can buy over-the-counter fixes for a cold. And if you have a flu, you may be prescribed antiviral medication.
 
Bear in mind that avoiding a cold or flu is far more effective than treating it. So wash your hands throughout the day to avoid transference of germs. Drink plenty of water. Eat a healthy diet to ensure a strong  immune system. And get plenty of sleep.

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Wellness inspiration of the week

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills… There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind… So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. — MARCUS AURELIUS