Cold and Flu Symptoms
Colds and flu are both highly contagious and, in the initial stages, a bad cold and a mild case of the flu might seem alike. However, unlike a cold, flu is a serious illness that can have life-threatening complications. Check this table to compare flu and cold symptoms.
|Fever||Rare in adults and older children, but can be as high as 102 degrees F (39 degrees C) in infants and small children||Usually 102 degrees F (39 degrees C), but can go up to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) and usually lasts 3 to 4 days|
|Headache||Rare||Sudden onset and can be severe|
|General muscle aches and pains||Sometimes, mild||Usual, and often severe|
|Tiredness and weakness||Sometimes, mild||Often extreme, and can last two or more weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion or fatigue||Rare||Very common, sudden onset and can be severe|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||Common|
|Cough||Sometimes, mild hacking cough||Usual, and can become severe|
|Complication||Can lead to sinus congestion or earache||Can lead to pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, can worsen other chronic health problems|
Ten Tips for Dodging the Flu
- Wash your hands. Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact.
- Don’t cover your sneezes and coughs with your hands. Use a tissue, then throw it away immediately. If you do have to cough or sneeze into your hands, wash them immediately.
- Don’t touch your face. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth. Touching their faces is the main way children catch colds and a key way that they pass colds on to their parents.
- Drink plenty of fluids. A typical, healthy adult needs 8 glasses of fluids (eight ounces each) a day.
- Get fresh air. A regular dose of fresh air is important, especially in cold weather when central heating dries you out and makes your body more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses.
- Do aerobic exercise regularly. These exercises help increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells. A good example of an aerobic exercise is walking.
- Don’t smoke. Statistics show that heavy smokers get more severe colds and more respiratory illnesses. Even being around smoke profoundly affects the immune system.
- Eat well. A balanced diet including foods rich in zinc and Vitamin C will help to keep your immune system strong.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Heavy drinkers are more prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications.
- Avoid crowds. If there is a known flu outbreak, it is best to avoid crowded places.
Cold and Flu Treatment
If you do come down with the flu, your Careworks healthcare provider can prescribe a regiment of anti-viral medicine that may speed your recovery and reduce symptom severity, especially if used within 48 hours.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Seasonal Influenza Info.
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