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Do I have a Cold or the Flu?

Do I have a Cold or the Flu?
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Is it a cold or flu?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you have a cold or the flu. This is because they both have similar symptoms, such as coughing, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing.

A cold is a very common sickness that many children and adults get. It's a mild virus that affects your nose, throat, sinuses, and upper airway. Although it typically goes away on its own, it could last for up to two weeks.

Sneezing, sore throat, blocked or runny nose and coughing are all common cold symptoms. People who have a cold can start spreading it to others 2-3 days before they start feeling sick. They can still continue to spread it until their symptoms go away.

Cold Symptoms may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Blocked nose
  • Nasal discomfort or pain
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Lack of appetite

Less frequent signs and symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell and taste

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a very contagious virus. When the virus enters your upper airways and lungs, it makes you sick with flu-like symptoms. These symptoms can include a sudden high temperature and body or muscle aches.

To prevent spreading the flu to others, basic hygiene like washing your hands is crucial. It can spread from one person to another through tiny droplets of saliva when someone coughs or sneezes. Flu symptoms typically last up to a week. But they can also leave you feeling exhausted and feeling rundown for several weeks.

Flu Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden high fever (a 38°C or higher temperature)
  • Chesty, dry cough
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Sweats and chills
  • Sore muscles and body aches
  • Nausea or stomach-ache
  • Sore throat
  • Blocked, runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Reduced appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

Pharmacy Advice:

  1. Taking a multivitamin can help to strengthen the immune system. This is recommended if you are feeling rundown or frequently get colds or the flu.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. You can use products with menthol oil like Olbas oil and Vicks to help clear a stuffy nose. You can either put it on your clothes or inhale it in steam over a bowl of hot water.
  4. If your cough doesn't go away and gets worse at night, it's important to see a doctor, it could be an early indicator of asthma.
  5. Take paracetamol for aches and pains and to bring down a temperature.