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Cold or Flu: Interpreting the Telltale Signs

The onset of winter is recognizable not just by the chilly days and warm woolens but also by the running nose, sore throat and coughing. Be it offices, buses, homes or malls, the frequency of people pulling out their handkerchief to tackle the discomforts of winter illnesses becomes hundred times more than regular days.

The temperature condition during winter months is ideal for many kind of viruses to thrive and grow. Be it the common cold virus or the influenza virus. It is therefore not always the same infection that may result in the symptoms of headache, cough sneezing etc. And it is therefore also not always the same treatment you need to ward off the infection. The dreaded swine flu virus too finds the cool climate ideal for its growth and thus it is H1N1 symptoms too that you should be aware about.

To be better prepared this winter and understand what exactly the viral infection is you have, here are some telltale signs,

Fever

Under most circumstances fever is linked with influenza. Though many people especially children may get mild fever with common cold too, if the fever is persistent it is more the symptom of flu. In children the flu fever temperature runs higher mostly more than 101 degree F. In adults flu temperatures may range between 100-102 or higher persistently.

Fatigue

With common cold the fatigue, tiredness and aching of body parts last for a day or two initially, or may not even occur. But with flu the body weakness lasts for 3-4 weeks or even longer if you are weak or elderly. Certain body parts like the joints always seem to be aching.

Headaches

Both common cold and flu can result in headaches therefore it is not a reliable indicator or whether you have flu or cold. Though headaches with cold are milder the pain perception of different people are different and it cannot be a sure symptom to differentiate between the two illnesses.

Cough

Again both cold and flu can cause coughing because both are respiratory illnesses. But if you have chest pain, shortness of breath or severe coughing it is better to tell the symptoms to your doctor as it may be severe flu that may lead to pneumonia.

Earaches

The Eustachian tube that connects the ear with the troat gets affected by both cold and flu virus. That is why ear aches may be a common symptom with both the problems.

Sore Throat

When you get a cold, the feeling often starts with sore throat and then a running nose. In the case of flu, sore throat, body ache, and weakness are all occurring at once, making it harder for you to carry on daily activities.

Is it Swine Flu?

If you have flu like symptoms and afraid that it might be swine flu, the best thing to do is visit your doctor immediately and ask for tests to be done. Currently, when swine flu is spreading so easily, it does not seem incorrect to be a little extra cautious.

Prevention Better than Cure

  • Wash hands thoroughly every time you come from outside.
  • Use a tissue or handkerchief while sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If tissue is not available instead of covering with hands, use shoulders which reduces the spread of infections.
  • Avoid touching the walls of public places or the rallying of staircases.
  • Keep a hand sanitizer handy and use it whenever the need.

Look for these telltale signs of cold or flu and take advice from your doctor accordingly.

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