HEALTH

How to tell if you have the flu or a cold

The simplest way to tell the difference is by checking your symptoms.

In Summary

•Colds are milder than the flu and special tests can be used to determine which disease one has. 

•Since they have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone.

The CDC classifies both the flu and the common cold as contagious respiratory infections even though they are caused by different viruses.

Since they have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them.

Colds are milder than the flu and special tests can be used to determine which disease one has. 

The simplest way to tell the difference is by checking the symptoms.

Fevers and chills are more common symptoms of the flu while you are extremely unlikely to get a fever with a common cold. 

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From a stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue and weakness, headaches to body pains, flu symptoms are more abrupt. While for colds, the symptoms are more mild and gradual.

Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat with symptoms lasting for about a week.

Experts suggest that you stay at home and get some rest during the first three days because you are most contagious. This means you can pass the cold on to others.

A glass of hot lemon water is said to boost immunity to counter the both viruses while adding honey can help with a sore throat.

The sneezing, runny and stuffy nose is most likely to be experienced by people with colds. However, headaches, chills, and chest discomfort is more likely to be associated with the flu. 

While colds can make you feel poorly for days, flu can go on for weeks and, if left untreated, can develop into pneumonia provoking hospitalisation.

If you suspect you have the flu and your symptoms begin to deteriorate it is important to seek medical attention so that you can get proper treatment.