Do I have the FLU or COLD?

Beginning each fall, this is a question I am asked on a daily basis.  Basically, while they are both caused by a virus, and share many of the same qualities, there are important differences.  Influenza, or the flu, is less likely to cause congestion and runny nose type symptoms, and is more likely to cause a fever.  The following table gives some good trending data to help you decide.  Most importantly, the Flu can get people into trouble with pneumonia and other breathing problems, while this almost never happens with a "common cold."  If you are having trouble breathing, or short of breath, you need to see the doctor NOW.

A Bad Cold:

  • Fever - Not usually
  • Headache - Not usually
  • Achy Muscles - Not usually
  • Congestion -Not usually
  • Sneezing -Not usually
  • Cough -Not usually
  • Timing - Fall, Winter, then Spring

The Flu:

  • Fever - Very common
  • Headache - About half the time
  • Achy Muscles - Very common
  • Congestion - Occasionally
  • Sneezing - Not common
  • Cough - Moderate to severe
  • Timing -3 - 10 Weeks during winter

~ from our Medical Director - Dr. Max Lebow




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