NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6:46 PM
It can be difficult to tell the difference between having a cold or the flu. Both illnesses have similar symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, fever and muscle aches.
In this case, how can you tell whether you have the cold or the flu?
In general, a cold is a milder illness than the flu. Cold symptoms are often less severe and make you feel sick for a few days.
Fflu symptoms are often more severe, appear more quickly, and make you feel sick for a few days up to a few weeks.
The flu may also lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, which can require hospitalization.
Common cold symptoms are:
– Sore throat (usually lasts a day or two)
– Fever (sometimes, usually mild)
– Runny nose, congestion
– Possibly a slight fever (more common in children)
– Watery nasal secretions that may become thick and dark
Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During those first couple of days is when you are most contagious. If the symptoms persist, you may have a bacterial infection and need antibiotics.
Common flu symptoms:
– Sore throat
– Fever (usually 100-102 F, lasts 3-4 days)
– Fatigue, weakness
– Muscle aches and soreness (more severe)
– Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
Preventing the cold and the flu can be done by simply practicing good hygiene. Make sure you wash your hands often and avoid close contact with any who has symptoms.
In regards to the flu, according to the CDC the most effective way to prevent it is to get an annual flu shot. If you have not yet received your flu shot, it is highly recommended that you do so sooner rather than later. The peak of flu season, December to February, is upon us.
Why is it important to get the flu shot?
– On average, about 5% to 20% of Americans will get the flu each year.
– Serious cases of the flu can result in complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures and meningitis, which can lead to hospitalization or even death.
– About 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
– About 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
– In the past, between 80% and 90% of flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery, and an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City, where he is heard Sundays at 10 a.m.