Cold or Flu?

How to spot the difference

The common cold and seasonal flu share many symptoms, but there are points of differentiation to help you identify which is in order to seek proper treatment. 

Common cold

  • Symptoms typically come on gradually.
  • Common symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose.
    • Can also include cough, mild headache and minor body aches
  • Symptoms tend to last a week.
  • Over-the-counter medications are generally effective. 

Seasonal Flu

  • Symptoms usually come on suddenly and are more severe than a cold.
  • Common symptoms include high-grade fever, headache, body aches and fatigue.
    • Can also include dry cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose.
  • Symptoms generally improve within two or five days but can last a week or more.
  • Prescription antiviral drugs can help decrease the severity and length of symptoms; call a doctor if you think your symptoms are worsening or if you have a condition such as asthma, diabetes or are pregnant. 
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