Do You Have a Cold or the Flu?

Flu and Cold

You have aches and pains in places you never thought could hurt. You feel like you have a fever, chills, your throat is feeling scratchy and you feel like you might even have a fever. The question then becomes, do you have a cold or the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2008-2009 flu season report acknowledges 5% to 20% of the population gets the “flu” every year. More than 200,000 people become hospitalized and over 36,000 die from flu-related complications every year. What is important is to know the difference symptoms of a cold and the flu.

It may be difficult at first to know the difference between the cold and the flu because symptoms can overlap. When someone has the flu, the symptoms include a fever above 102 nausea, cough without phlegm, chills, body aches, sweating, congestion, and lack of appetite. These symptoms come on very quickly. Each one of these symptoms can become severe.


If you have a cold, you will not get a high fever, and you will develop a productive cough unlike the flu which is non-productive. Your aches and pains will not be as painful as the flu. You develop a sore throat, stuffy nose and sneezing. The symptoms of a cold can last for a week to ten days. Fever can be a sure way of knowing if you have a cold or the flu.

There are many myths that are associated about catching a cold or flu. The one that we all have heard since we were children is, “Don’t go out in that weather you’ll catch a cold.” But going out in cold weather or getting wet and becoming chilled does not cause a cold. Viruses cause colds and the flu, it really is that simple. The common cold has over 200 known viruses that create the stuffy nose and head congestion.

The best way to prevent the cold or flu is prevention. The best prevention there available is to wash your hands often. Germs can live for a while and they can live on doors, phones, computer keyboards, grocery carts, so the best thing to do is wash hands often. It helps to avoid close contact with anyone with a cold or flu. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth so try not to touch your face.

Web MD
Health Central