Cold Symp­toms

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL -

Colds and the flu have an aw­ful lot in com­mon, so much so that it’s often hard to know the dif­fer­ence. Though they’re caused by dif­fer­ent viruses, both are res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses, and both can leave you feel­ing bad.

While many of the symp­toms are the same, there are some key dif­fer­ences that will help you know which you are suf­fer­ing from and how best to treat the con­di­tion.

Flu Symp­toms

In­fluenza (also known as flu) is a con­ta­gious res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to se­vere ill­ness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is dif­fer­ent from a cold. Flu usu­ally comes on sud­denly. Peo­ple who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symp­toms:

Fever or feel­ing fever­ish/ chills

Cough

Sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose Mus­cle or body aches Headaches Fa­tigue (tired­ness) Some peo­ple may have vomiting and di­ar­rhea, though this is more com­mon in chil­dren than adults.

Sore throat and runny nose are usu­ally the first signs of a cold, fol­lowed by cough­ing and sneez­ing. Most peo­ple re­cover in about 7-10 days. You can help re­duce your risk of get­ting a cold by wash­ing your hands often, avoid­ing close con­tact with sick peo­ple and by not touch­ing your face with un­washed hands. Symp­toms usu­ally in­clude: Sore throat

Runny nose

Cough

Sneez­ing Headaches

Body aches

A key dif­fer­ence be­tween the flu and a com­mon cold is how quickly there is an on­set of symp­toms. Flu symp­toms typ­i­cally strike very quickly, while cold symp­toms usu­ally de­velop grad­u­ally.

An­other clue is the time of year. Colds most often hit dur­ing the sum­mer, but can oc­cur any­time. Flu sea­son typ­i­cally runs from Novem­ber through March, but can strike as early as Oc­to­ber or as late as May.

Be­cause symp­toms of these two con­di­tions are often so sim­i­lar, we rec­om­mend see­ing your doc­tor right away if you have con­cerns that you may be com­ing down with the flu. Early treat­ment can pre­vent the wors­en­ing of symp­toms.

It’s also ad­vis­able to re­ceive a flu shot. Flu vac­ci­na­tion is not a per­fect tool, but it is the best way to pro­tect against flu in­fec­tion. If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns about re­ceiv­ing the vac­ci­na­tion this sea­son, please con­sult your physi­cian.

If you don’t have a fam­ily physi­cian, the flu vac­cine is avail­able at sev­eral lo­ca­tions through­out Polk County, in­clud­ing all Floyd Ur­gent Care of­fices.

Ti­fani Ki­nard is the Hos­pi­tal Ad­min­is­tra­tor and Chief Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer at Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

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