You are convinced it is a cold, but your mother tells you it’s the flu. Does it matter?
YES. We constantly confuse the two because they share many symptoms. However, it is important to know the differences so that you can quickly feel better.
What is a Common Cold?
A cold or common cold is medically known as viral rhinitis. It is a viral infection, caused by rhinovirus or coronavirus, and can happen any time of the year. The infection lasts about 7 days. There is presently no anti-viral medication for the common cold. Treatment is based on easing the symptoms.
What is the Flu?
The flu or influenza is also a viral infection, like the cold, but is caused by the influenza virus. Infection by this virus is common between November and April. This is why flu shots are recommended in the fall.
Flu symptoms differ from the common cold because they are systemic in nature during the first few days. That is, the flu usually causes sudden high fever, chills, muscle aches and pains and fatigue. This is followed by a stuffy nose, cough or sore throat.
Children under the age of 2, adults over 65 years of age, and those with certain medical conditions are at a high risk of developing complications from the flu, such as pneumonia. This is why it is important for these individuals and anyone who lives with or cares for these persons get the flu shot every year.
What is the difference?
(38 – 40oC)
|General aches and pain||Mild||Common|
|Cough||Dry then productive||Dry|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||Common|
How can I stop the germs?
The single best way to prevent getting the flu is getting the flu shot every year.
There are also many things you can do every day in order to help stop the spread of germs and prevent a cold or flu:
- Avoid close contact with people that are sick and protect others by keeping your distance when you are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
For more information on the flu and common cold, talk to our pharmacist.