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Cold vs Flu: Know the Differences and When to See a Doctor in Gonzales

The development of a few flu-like symptoms always lends the question, “is it a cold or the flu?”

It can be hard to tell, and for those of us on the careful side, we don’t want to risk developing a nasty illness. It’s hard to tell what you have because the symptoms of the common cold are usually similar to those of the flu. 

The flu, of course, tends to be a lot worse, but the signs are similar in the early stages. So, how do you tell if it’s a cold or the flu?

Cold vs Flu: How to Tell the Difference

Both forms of illness are respiratory and come when a person is introduced to a virus. The fact that the virus takes hold in the same part of the body, it leads to similar symptoms. The viruses are similar as well, so that makes things more muddled.

Sometimes the symptoms are so similar that the only way to tell is from a test from a physician. That’s not always the case, though, and we’ll list the qualities of a cold, followed by those of the flu, so you can have a pretty accurate idea of what you have. 

Characteristics of the Common Cold

The onset of cold symptoms is gradual, often developing very slowly. Rarely will a common cold result in a fever, which is defined by a temperature of 100.4 or higher. While you might get a fever with a cold, the absence of one is a pretty good sign that you don’t have the flu. 

Bodily aches are common in colds, but only to a small degree. The aches should be noticeable, but not too intense. Aches are different from chills, which are not common in the common cold. Chills are the intense shivering, and need to stay under a blanket that comes when your body is responding to the virus. 

Some common signs of a cold that are less common in cases of flu are sneezing, congestion, stuffy nose, and sore throat. You’re likely to experience chest congestion when you have a cold as well. 

Characteristics of Influenza

Influenza is likely to have symptoms that come on like a wave. They’re not there one minute, and the next you’re feeling all of them. In other words, the symptoms are abrupt. 

It’s very common that you’ll have a fever of above 100.4 if you have the flu. You’ll also have aches and chills in varying degrees. If your body feels cold every time you move, and moving is a little painful, it’s likely that you have the flu. 

Those symptoms are similar to fatigue and weakness, which are usually part of the flu. Sneezing, stuffy nose and congestion, and sore throat are sometimes associated with the flu, but not as common as they are in the cold. 

You’ll also experience a cough and headache. If you have a few of these symptoms, it would be a good idea to see a physician.

Visit Coastal Urgent Care of Gonzales

If you’re unsure if your symptoms mean you have a cold or flu, it’s wise to take the safer route. Go in to get yourself examined, and find out how you can get better. 

Come see us at Coastal Urgent Care of Gonzales to get help, or visit our site.