Is common cold and flu similar? Every GP must have answered this one basic question at least once in his practice. To begin with, there is a difference between the flu and the common cold. It is better to understand the difference between the flu and common cold, so that you could take timely action if there is anything serious.
An infection of the nose, throat and lungs that is caused due to the influenza virus. In many cases, flu could keep people away from work or days or even weeks. The worst affected due to the flu are seniors, infants and children. People who suffer with lifelong conditions like asthma and COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could suffer from worse symptoms and it could turn fatal.
What causes the Flu?
As discussed already, the fluis caused by influenza virus. There are different virus strains, but they have the same symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of the flu
We could categorize the symptoms in primary and secondary symptoms. Let us first discuss the primary symptoms.
- Fever: if your body temperature rises above 101 degrees F and it continues for 3-4 days, it is worth visiting the doctor.
- Muscle aches: sudden and unexplained body aches are the sign of the flu
- Chills: When it is too hot, but still you are, feeling cold can be a sign of the flu.
- Extreme fatigue: when you feel tired all through the day and do not feel like working, could signal the flu.
Other Secondary Symptoms
- Headache:Sudden onset of headache that is accompanied by body aches and nasal congestion
- Sore Throat: Throat swells and one might have troublewith chewing or even gulping down the food.
- Stuffy Nose:One could experience runny or stuffy nose, however, this symptom is more common in children than adults.
- Discomfort in the chest: It worsens with the flu and the person experience difficulty breathing
- Stomach symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea though this is more common again in children than adults.
Warning Flu signs in Children
If the child shows even one of the below listed symptoms, rush him to the doctor as soon as possible:
- Fast breathing rate
- Lips or skin turning blue or gray
- Not waking up even after repeated attempts to wake them up
- Stop taking fluids
- Lots of vomiting bouts
Warning Flu Signs in Adults
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or feeling unexplained pressure in the chest or stomach
- Not peeing
Diagnosis of the Flu
The GP would look at your symptoms, ask some questions or even ask you to undergo some tests and then diagnose whether it is flu or not. The test that is normally conducted is the swab test. The doctor would rub a swab in your nose or throat and then send it to a lab for analysis.
Treatment Options available for Flu
Vaccination is the best choice for treating the flu or avoiding the flu altogether. However, vaccination is not a foolproof measure to prevent flu, as it might not provide protection against all strains of the virus.
Hope, this write-up must have helped you get a better understanding of the flu, and how to deal with it.