Cold or Flu?

This time of year we all know someone who is or has been sick, maybe even ourselves. The long winter months can seem even harsher when your stuck in bed sick, but do you have a cold or the flu?

Is it a cold or a flu?
Photo from the CDC

Head colds can be uncomfortable to get through, but there is usually not any serious complications to deal with. Most of the time a cold is something that you can fight off on your own without seeking medical attention. Colds are known to spread easily since you can be contagious up to two days before showing symptoms. The common head cold is caused by a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics so your best defense is rest and hydration, with the help of over the counter medications to alleviate symptoms. Of course, if the cold seems to be worsening or not going away after a few days, it is best to seek care from a medical professional to make sure that you truly only have a cold and not something more severe.

Influenza has the potential to be much worse than a cold, although most people are able to fight through it with little complications. To help prevent or lessen the effects of the flu, it may be a good idea for you to get the flu shot if you are a candidate. The flu, like a cold, is easily spreadable, especially during certain times of the year. With a mild case of the flu, you may be able to get rest, hydrate, and use over the counter medications to get through. If symptoms worsen or do not go away, it is important to seek medical attention and get tested for the flu, since there are reported cases of death from Influenza every year.

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