Flu or Just Common Cold?

Flu or Just Common Cold?

by Dr. Adelaine Lopez

What is a flu and what is a common cold?

Flu (influenza) and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses causes by different viruses. These two illnesses have similar symptoms, although in general, flu can be more severe.

Flu symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Certain populations, such as young children, older people, and people with concomitant medical conditions, are at risk for serious complications, hospitalization, or death. Symptoms of common cold are usually milder than flu and generally do not result in serious complications. Sore throat and runny or stuffy nose are more common and often the first signs of a cold.

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How to differentiate these two?

Because the common cold and flu have similar symptoms, these two illnesses cannot be differentiated based on symptoms alone. Special tests, which must be done within the first few days of illness, can help identify flu.

How to treat flu?

People presenting with respiratory symptoms are advised to consult with a physician. Antiviral drugs may be prescribed as a treatment option for flu, especially for people that are at high risk for flu complications.

Tips to avoid colds and flu

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette by completely covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve.
  • Get a yearly flu vaccine from your health care provider. This will provide protection against flu but not against the common cold, which has no available vaccine.
  • Stay at home while you are sick and limit contacts others.

Experiencing discomfort, pain or sickness such as flu or common cold is never easy. CMI has an urgent care facility for cases such as this – a non-emergency condition that nevertheless needs quick attention.

At CMI, we have our urgent care physicians on standby for consultations. Come and visit CMI and experience high-quality care and comfort when you need it the most. Call us at 02. 8812. 1CMI | 02. 8816 .1035 – 36 or email us at experience@cminternationale.com. The CMI pharmacy also carries the flu vaccine for our patients who wish to be immunized.

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