ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is it the Flu or a Common Cold?

Updated on January 28, 2011

Runny Nose, Fever, and Chills Oh My

It's that time of the year again and the only reason I know is cause the flu just ripped it's way through my house. If you have school age children you probably know just what I mean.

One of my major questions whenever one of us catches a cold is how do you tell the difference between the flu and the common cold. Well, hopefully I can help save you some time and energy by imparting what I learned- keep in mind I am just a mom not an MD.

Influenza Virus

Source

Symptoms of the Flu

Here is a list of common flu symptoms according to the CDC. It is important to note that symptoms will vary from person to person so it is always a good idea to follow up with the doctor if you are feeling ill.

  • Fever and/or Chills
  • Runny Nose
  • Muscle and Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea; more common in children

TIP:

The best ways to tell it is the flu rather than just a cold is if there is a high fever and also with the flu you are going to be really wiped out.

Another trick is that colds tend to have a sore throat that will go away after a day or two when common cold symptoms will begin to set in such as nasal symptoms and cough.

Symptoms of a Cold

  • Usually begins with a Sore Throat
  • Runny and then Stuffy Nose
  • Cough - Can be Mild or Persistent depending on Lung Health
  • Typically is worst a couple days in and better 3-5 later but may have lingering cough or nasal symptoms
  • May have Mild Fever

See the Doctor Always If:

  • Fever of 101F or Higher with Sore Throat
  • Symptoms of Earache
  • Your Pregnant
  • With a Newborn
  • Cold Symptoms Worsen after a Few Days
  • Sore Throat Last Longer than 3 days
  • You Feel Really Tired and Achy

Rhinovirus Can Cause Common Cold

Source

Antibiotics for the Flu or Cold?

These days there are a lot of nasty little buggers floating around due to antibiotic resistance. It is hard to imagine and accept that modern medicine hasn't found more medicines to get rid of the common cold but medicines like antibiotics are only good for treating bacterial infections and the flu and cold come from viruses.

Viruses change often which makes it harder to pin down a treatment and common cold symptoms are considered to be mild enough that treatment isn't necessary. Recent advances in antivirals medications have made some medicines available to treat the flu- such as Tamiflu and Relenza but they are only effective if taken right away and only work to lessen the severity and duration of the flu.

Determining whether or not you need antibiotics can be tricky without lab testing but good indicators are longer duration sore throat, sore throat with high fever as in Strep Throat, symptoms that starting getting worse in the middle or end of cold, cold that last several weeks or more which may indicate the a bacterial infection has settle in during the cold. The best way to figure it out is by talking with your MD but remember that overuse and misuse of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance illness later on.

Ease the Symptoms and Spread of Virus

Tips to Help Prevent and Ease Symptoms of Viruses:

  • Use a humidifier- cold viruses thrive in dry warm air(Try steaming the bathroom for some relief if you don't have one)
  • Wash your Hands and have antibacterial antiseptic handy
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a tissue instead of your hands
  • Make sure your getting enough vitamin D
  • Chicken Soup :)
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid the PDA or hand shaking with people who are ill
  • Be careful not to over exercise
  • Try to reduce stress (try some simple deep breathing exercises) and get rest
  • Try not to binge drink, people who binge drink lower their immunity
  • Use OTC medicines to treat symptoms but be careful to follow directions for dosing

Flu Prevention

Did You Get Your Flu Vaccine This Year?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • megs11237 profile imageAUTHOR

      megs11237 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks, we need them to be healthy as well so we can stay healthy. :)

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Hey Megs. Great job here on advise and information of colds/flu. Anyone that has children should read, because as we all know our children depend on us to help them and keep them healthy.

      Thanks for sharing

    • megs11237 profile imageAUTHOR

      megs11237 

      7 years ago from United States

      AAACHOOOO

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)