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October 2017 // Archive

Date based archive
10 Oct

You woke up sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head just like in those well-known cold and flu medicine commercials. Now what? Do I have the flu or the common cold? Besides knowing what you need to treat, knowing the difference could be the difference between a minor irritation and serious illness. While a cold can make you feel bad for a few days, the flu can make you feel awful for a few days to weeks. The flu could also lead to other health problems such as pneumonia.

Although we’re going to let you self-diagnose yourself with our handy dandy Cold vs. Flu chart (courtesy of WebMD), you should never rely solely on articles find on the Internet. When in doubt, always seek medical advice.

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Symptoms

Cold

Flu

1

Fever

Sometimes, usually mild

Usual; 100-102 F; lasts 3 to 4 days

2

Headache

Occasionally

Common

3

General Aches, Pains

Slight

Usual; often severe

4

Fatigue, Weakness

Sometimes

Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks

5

Extreme Exhaustion

Never

Usual; at the beginning of the illness

6

Stuffy Nose

Common

Sometimes

7

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

8

Sore Throat

Common

Sometimes

9

Chest Discomfort, Cough

Mild to moderate; hacking cough

Common; can become severe

 

Complications

Sinus
congestion; middle ear infection

Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear
infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening

 

Prevention

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold

Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu
symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine

Treatment

Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medicines

Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available
over the counter; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some
cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment.

If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days could be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
  • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
  • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
  • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection (sinusitis). If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should get a flu vaccine before flu season begins. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu, so make plans to get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

You’ve worked hard all year long to stay healthy and fit. Don’t let the fall and winter seasons do you in. Get your flu shot. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently, especially after using fitness equipment. Stay active and healthy!

Do you work through your cold or flu, or do you grab a hot toddy and curl up in your bed? We want to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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