Q: What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
A: There are revealing differences between a cold and the flu, with the most telling clues usually coming at the beginning of the illness. The common cold has gradually evolving symptoms. Flu symptoms, however, are usually felt sooner and with greater intensity.
Q: What are typical flu symptoms for most patients?
A: Flu symptoms usually begin with a sudden onset of fever, with temperatures between 100 and 102 degrees or higher and may last three to five days –- sometimes even dragging on for a week or longer. However, not everyone with the flu will have a fever. Other flu symptoms include chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, coughing and headaches. Some flu patients report that they feel as though they have been run over by a truck and that this feeling can last several weeks. The flu can also lead to severe respiratory problems and pneumonia.
Q: What do colds look like, and what are common symptoms of a cold?
A: Colds are typically a milder illness, with nasal congestion, sneezing and scratchy throat being the most frequently occurring symptoms. Adults and older children may have a low-grade fever or none at all. Infants and toddlers, however, may have a higher temperature. Unlike the flu, which can linger, a cold usually comes and goes in a week or so.
Q: Can someone prevent the onset of a cold or flu?
A: Although there isn’t much you can do to prevent getting a cold -– with the exception of good hand hygiene and avoiding contact with those who may be ill -– there is something you can do to prevent getting the flu. Ensure that you and your loved ones receive the flu vaccine every year.