Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Are The Cold And Flu The Same

Must read

Prevent Spreading A Cold Or The Flu

Cold vs. Flu: What’s The Difference?

There are two main things that you can do to prevent spreading a cold or the flu.

  • Wash your hands regularly and properly.
  • Always cover your cough or a sneeze, but not with your hands. Obviously, if you cough or sneeze into your hands the viruses get on them and you spread them to everything you touch. Instead, cough or sneeze into a tissue. If a tissue isnt available, you can cough into the fold of your elbow or even into your armpit. For a humorous look at effective coughing and sneezing techniques watch the Cough Safe video.
  • Because cold and flu symptoms become apparent a short time after you become infected, you may have the viruses in your respiratory tract and not even know it. Therefore, it is always important for you to wash your hands regularly and properly and to cover your cough .

    How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose A Cold And/or The Flu

    Generally, health care professionals distinguish between the cold and the flu by running a rapid influenza diagnostic test, usually done within about 30 minutes. Depending on which test is used, the results can vary but most health care practitioners, including emergency medicine personnel, utilize this test. If the test is negative, patients probably have a cold unless their symptoms and signs become more severe.

    How Long Do Cold Symptoms Last

    Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.

    If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

    Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis or a sinus infection. If cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.

    Read Also: How Are You Tested For The Flu

    Who Is Most Susceptible

    Dr. Omer, who is also a professor of infectious disease and epidemiology at Yale, identified two groups he thought could be most susceptible to co-infection.

    First: unvaccinated adults. Based on previous work on vaccinations, people who refuse one vaccine might refuse others as well, he said. He said he expected there to be a significant overlap between people who refuse both vaccines.

    Second: children, especially those under 5, who are too young to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Kids are also petri dishes, as any parent will tell you, and have lived through fewer cycles of the flu. So even if a child got a flu shot, Dr. Omer said, their library of protection is narrow against the many viral flu strains that can emerge each year.

    How To Prevent Catching A Cold

    Know the Difference Between Cold vs Flu

    A person with a cold can start spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished.

    The best ways to avoid catching a cold are:

    • washing your hands with warm water and soap
    • not sharing towels or household items with someone who has a cold
    • not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus it can infect the body this way
    • staying fit and healthy

    The flu vaccine helps prevent flu but not colds.

    Also Check: Boots Ultra Cold And Flu Relief

    How To Reduce Your Risk Of Catching A Cold Or The Flu

    You can reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu by avoiding people who have cold or flu-like symptoms wherever possible, avoiding rubbing your eyes, mouth and nose, and washing your hands with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

    You can also significantly reduce your risk of catching the flu by getting an annual flu vaccine every year a new vaccine is produced as the viruses that cause the flu slightly change from year to year.

    How Is A Cold Diagnosed

    Typically, an exam is enough to determine if you have a cold. During a physical exam, your healthcare provider will check for signs such as:

    You may need tests if your provider suspects you have the flu or another condition. Your provider may give you a nasal swab test to test for the flu virus. Chest X-rays rule out bronchitis or pneumonia.

    Also Check: How Long Do Flu Shot Antibodies Last

    Whats The Difference Between The Common Cold And A Chest Cold

    A chest cold, or acute bronchitis, causes irritation and a buildup of mucus in the lungs. Common colds turn into chest colds when the virus travels from the nose and throat to the lungs. Occasionally, bacteria cause chest colds.

    You can have a cough with a common cold or a chest cold. But chest colds produce a wet cough, meaning you may feel or cough up phlegm. You may also have:

    • A cough that keeps you up all night.
    • Shortness of breath.

    Whats The Difference Between A Cold And Covid

    Is It A Cold, Or Flu, Or COVID? How To Tell The Difference

    You might have heard that the common cold is a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause upper respiratory infections. While rhinoviruses cause most types of common cold, a few are caused by different coronaviruses. Most people recover quickly from these common colds.

    Coronaviruses may also travel into the lungs and lead to pneumonia and other complications that can be fatal. A new type of coronavirus, discovered in late 2019, causes a specific disease known as COVID-19. Early symptoms that make COVID-19 different from the common cold include:

    Read Also: What Otc Medicine For Flu

    Is It A Cold The Flu Or Covid

    Download a printable PDF version of the Common Symptoms of a Cold, the Flu, and COVID-19 infographic .

    The common cold, flu, and COVID-19 all have similar symptoms. Knowing the signs of a cold, the flu, and COVID-19 can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

    These are common signs, but your symptoms may be more or less severe, or you may only have a few. If you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor to discuss how youre feeling and whether you need to get tested.

    Older adults are more likely to become seriously ill from the flu and COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent some of these diseases.

    Learn more about the flu and older adults.

    Differences On How To Prevent Flu And Colds

    Both flu and the common cold are spread by viruses. The viruses are contained in water droplets which come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets may land on surfaces, contaminating them with traces of flu or cold virus. To minimise the risk of catching a cold or flu, you should:

    • wash your hands regularly, especially before touching your mouth or eating food with your hands such as sandwiches or crisps
    • regularly wipe down surfaces which tend to become contaminated, such as door handles and keyboards
    • always cough and sneeze into a tissue
    • dont leave tissues lying around but throw them into a bin immediately

    There are too many different cold viruses to have a vaccine for the common cold, but there is a flu vaccine. This changes annually as different strains emerge, so you will need to have a new one every year. The vaccine does not provide 100% immunity but will significantly reduce your chances of getting flu. You’re eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine if:

    • You have asthma or a lung condition
    • You have chronic heart disease
    • You have diabetes
    • You have a chronic kidney or liver condition
    • You’ve had a stroke
    • You have an illness or are taking medicines that affect your immune system

    If you fall into one of these categories, you can book a free flu jab through LloydsPharmacy. If you’re not eligible, you can pay to get a flu jab from LloydsPharmacy. Find out more by visiting the LloydsPharmacy flu vaccine service page.


    Read Also: Flu Vaccine For Asthma Patients

    How Are Colds And The Flu Diagnosed

    PCR-based tests can be done to look for common colds, but theyre not generally available to the public for routine use theyre usually reserved for hospital patients with pneumonia or a severe respiratory tract infection. If your symptoms are more severe, your doctor may order tests or X-rays to rule out certain illnesses, such as strep throat or pneumonia.

    To diagnose the flu, doctors sometimes use a rapid influenza diagnostic test, notes the CDC. Swab samples from the nose or back of the throat are tested for influenza viral antigens . Test results are usually ready in less than 15 minutes but are not always accurate. Other more reliable flu tests can be performed only in hospitals or specialized laboratories.

    Coughs: Sign Of Both Colds And Flu

    How to tell the difference between a cold and the flu

    Colds and flu are respiratory illnesses, which affect your airways, so both can cause coughing.

    Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be a complication of the flu. Call your doctor if you have a persistent cough, fever higher than 102 F and chills, a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when you cough.

    Read Also: Is The Flu Shot Good For A Year

    How Can You Keep From Getting A Cold

    There are several steps you can take to prevent a cold including:

    • Wash your hands, especially before eating or preparing food. You also want to wash your hands after using the bathroom, wiping your nose or coming in contact with someone who has a cold.
    • Avoid touching your face. Cold viruses spread from your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean frequently used surfaces. Viruses can live on doorknobs and other places people often touch.
    • Use hand sanitizers when you cant wash your hands with soap and water.
    • Strengthen your immune system so your body is ready to fight off germs. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise.
    • Stay home while sick to make sure you dont spread the cold to others.

    How To Avoid Spreading A Cold

    Colds are caused by viruses and easily spread to other people. You’re infectious until all your symptoms have gone. This usually takes 1 to 2 weeks.

    Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

    To reduce the risk of spreading a cold:

    • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
    • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
    • bin used tissues as quickly as possible

    You May Like: The Flu Virus Is Contagious

    When Do I Call The Doctor With Flu Or Cold Symptoms

    If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

    • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days can be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
    • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
    • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
    • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection . If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

    In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

    • Symptoms that were improving and then suddenly worsen
    • Fever with a rash

    How Can I Prevent Co

    Can you get COVID-19 and flu at the same time?

    On this one, the medical advice remains consistent: Get vaccinated for both Covid and flu. And get vaccinated right now.

    Both kids and adults can get both vaccines at the same time. Children ages 5 years and older are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine, and children older than 6 months can get vaccinated against the flu.

    We have given multiple vaccines at the same time for decades, Dr. Badley said, with no ill effects. The side effects are the same when administered together, and the side effects for both vaccines are very, very low.

    In addition, experts agree you should wear masks and maintain social distancing measures when appropriate. Both flu and the coronavirus are airborne viruses, so limiting your exposure cuts down on your chances of getting infected.

    If you dont want to get the coronavirus, and you dont want to get flu, Dr. Esper said, the best thing you could do is: Do basically everything you did last year.

    You May Like: Should I Get The Flu Shot If I Am Sick

    Testing May Be The Only Way To Diagnose Your Infection

    If youve got some kind of respiratory bug but dont know what it is, doctors have one piece of advice: Get tested.

    Given the similarities between COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold, If we dont test people, were merely guessing at things, says Jeffrey Loria, MD, an internist in New York City. If someone reaches out with fever or any respiratory symptoms, Id make sure to get them tested for both the flu and COVID.

    The benefit to testing for COVID-19 is obvious by now: By going into quarantine as soon as possible, you minimize the chance of spreading the virus to others.

    The sooner you take a test, the sooner youll be on the path to doing the right thing for the people around you, says Priya Nori, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at Montefiore Health System in New York City.

    Learning whether you have COVID-19 or the flu as soon as possible can also help you determine a course of treatment. If a test reveals you have COVID-19, for instance, you have five days from the onset of symptoms during which you can begin taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid , if eligible.

    With Paxlovid, we now have a great oral medication to treat COVID-19. It prevents disease progression and hospitalization, so thats a win, says Nachman. Indeed, a study published in February 2022 in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who took Paxlovid had an 89 percent reduction in hospitalization and death.

    Flu Symptoms Hit Fast

    The flu will often surprise you with how quickly symptoms begin, and how serious the illness can become. Classically, the flu starts with a sudden onset of fever, chills, muscles aches, mild headache and fatigue. You may have other symptoms like a runny nose and cough, too. You feel lousy and you feel lousy fast.

    How long does the flu last?

    Flu onset usually happens about one to four days after infection, and symptoms typically last five to seven days. However, fatigue can stick around for a few extra days.

    How long does a cold last?

    A cold comes on gradually and will usually last longer than the flu. Cold germs are contagious for the first three days. And while your cough and congestion can last up to three weeks, other cold symptoms that last more than a week such as fever, chest discomfort or sinus pain may be a sign of a bacterial or sinus infection.

    If you experience long-lasting symptoms, dont ignore them. Talk with a doctor. They can help diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan.

    Also Check: Egg Free Flu Shot Cvs

    What Cold Medicines Relieve Symptoms

    Over-the-counter medications to treat cold symptoms are widely available. But some of these medications arent safe for children. Check with your healthcare provider before giving your child over-the-counter medications. Be careful not to combine medicines that treat multiple symptoms. If you do, you could wind up overdosing of some ingredients, which could cause other health problems, including organ damage.

    Medications that relieve cold symptoms include:

    Complications Of The Flu And Colds

    Flu Symptoms vs Cold â Vessel Medical

    Colds usually get better on their own without treatment. However, they can cause complications, especially if you are very young, aged over 65 or have a weakened immune system. Complications include bronchitis, sinusitis and the bacterial infection strep throat. In rare cases, a cold can cause inflammation of the lungs called pneumonia.

    The flu is more likely to lead to complications than a cold. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, sinus infections and inflammation of the brain called encephalitis.

    Also Check: Should You Get A Flu Shot While Taking Antibiotics

    What Are The Risks For Children

    Pediatricians were optimistic that flurona would not overwhelm most children. Thats because kids may be more likely than adults to get multiple infections at the same time.

    Its not that surprising to most of the people who work in pediatrics, said Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cleveland Clinic Childrens Hospital. We see co-infections all the time.

    Co-infections with coronavirus are expected, Dr. Esper continued. I do not find it to be alarming. His research team has found that co-infections with a variety of respiratory viruses are more common in children than adults. Other earlier studies likewise suggest that infection with two concurrent viruses do not make a child sicker, he said.

    Dr. Aaron M. Milstone, a professor of pediatric infectious disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, also said he was cautiously optimistic. Just because a child has two viruses, he said, doesnt mean that the immune response will be twice as aggressive or generate twice as many symptoms.

    Because the viruses have been co-circulating, it is very reassuring especially for parents that we have not seen a lot of children coming into the hospital with severe co-infections, Dr. Milstone said. He added, Were not all of a sudden seeing more kids in the intensive care unit.

    More articles

    Popular Articles