Is It the Flu or a Cold?
Learn how to correctly identify a cold or flu with these tips.
You wake up one more morning with a stuffy nose and you're not sure if you have the flu or a cold. Even if you got a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can still get the flu since its effectiveness depends on your age, health status and where you live. Plus, the flu shot doesn't protect against all strains of the virus.
Now that flu season is in full swing, it's important to be able to correctly identify the symptoms for colds versus the flu. Complications from influenza can include ear infections, sinus infections and even pneumonia, if not treated correctly.
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Onset is key
How fast your symptoms show up can be the key to identifying whether you have just a cold or the flu. While cold symptoms may take a few days to show up, flu symptoms may come fast and out of the blue, says the Cleveland Clinic. If you think you may have flu symptoms, including the chills, fever and body aches, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
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The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot as soon as possible, says The Cleveland Clinic. Vaccination is important for children under 5 years old, elderly, pregnant women and those with weak immune systems and chronic illnesses. Other ways to protect yourself from cold and flu viruses include washing your hands often and getting enough sleep.
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See the infographic below for common symptoms for each ailment and possible treatments.