What Is The Difference Between A Cold And Flu
Influenza and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses only, whereas the common cold can be caused by a number of different viruses, including rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and seasonal coronaviruses.Seasonal coronaviruses should not be confused with SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are typically more intense and begin more abruptly. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than people who have flu. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have serious associated complications.
High Or Prolonged Fever
Spiking a temperature is a pretty standard symptom of the flu. Fevers are one of the ways our bodies try to fight off diseases, and they can actually be helpful when youre in the midst of an infection. But having a very high fever for days at a time may be a sign that more help is needed . If you’re worried your child’s temperature is too high, or if they start to have seizures from the fever, call your child’s doctor immediately.
Your Guide To Avoiding Coronavirus Flu And Confusion This Flu Season
It sometimes feels like the more we learn about coronavirus, the harder it is to discern it from other illnesses.
Now, flu season is upon us now, which is sure to present perplexing questions: Does having a fever mean I have COVID? Is this stuffy nose the result of a cold, or could it be the flu? Or allergies?
There are at least a dozen symptoms shared by some or all of those ailments, making it nearly impossible to know what you have without a diagnostic test, a medical exam or both.
The good news is that, in many cases, you dont need to know the cause in order to know what to do. The key is to watch for changes in your or familys health and to respond promptly.
To help, weve put together this side-by-side comparison of symptoms as a quick reference.
How Does Influenza Spread
Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing or face-to-face contact.
The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person or object and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
An infected person can spread the influenza virus even before feeling sick. An adult can spread the virus from about 1 day before to 5 days after symptoms start. Young children may be able to spread the virus for a longer period of time.
Heres How The Omicron Variant Of Covid
CINCINNATI – Cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been rising, now accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday.
Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown nearly a six-fold increase in omicrons share of infections in only one week, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
While the CDC says its still unknown how rapidly omicron spreads as compared to the delta variant of the virus, it will likely spread more rapidly than the original strain of COVID-19.
Its possible to get the omicron variant even if youre vaccinated, but you are less likely to experience severe illness, hospitalization, and death, however, breakthrough infections are still likely to occur, according to the CDC.
To help fight omicron, the CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older be vaccinated, and everyone 18 and older to get a booster shot.
Mask wearing indoors or in areas of high community transmission is also recommended.
Recommended Reading: Feeling Sick 2 Weeks After Flu Shot
Coronavirus Vs Cold Vs Flu Vs Allergies
There are lots of similarities between illness from the coronavirus and the flu, but there are some differences that help doctors distinguish them.
A key difference is the incubation period for the viruses — that is, the time it takes to develop symptoms after exposure to it. The flu always strikes quickly, typically one to three days. Coronavirus, however, can take anywhere from two to 14 days. Which is why its important to isolate right away after being exposed so as not to unknowingly infect others.
People usually recover from the flu in seven to 10 days, while its believed that it takes at least 10 days to recover from the coronavirus, especially those with severe cases, which can mean several weeks or even months of gradual recovery.
The symptoms themselves are a bit more tricky to distinguish. Below is a list of 12 symptoms that are easily confused among coronavirus, the flu, the cold and allergies.
Fever: Coronavirus and flu both cause fever, but its rare for the common cold. COVID-19 patients usually have a fever of 100 F or higher, while flu sufferers often experience fever of 100F to 102F that lasts three to four days.
Headache: COVID-19 patients sometimes have headaches. Flu sufferers often experience intense headaches. Headaches are rare with the cold, but sometimes caused by allergies.
Body aches and pains: The flu virus often causes body aches that are severe. Aches are sometimes present with coronavirus, but not always.
What Should I Do If I Have The Flu
If you get the flu, the best way to take care of yourself is to rest in bed and drink lots of liquids like water and other non-caffeinated drinks. Stay home from school until you feel better and your temperature has returned to normal.
Most people get better on their own after the virus runs its course. But call your doctor if you have the flu and:
- You’re getting worse instead of better.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have a medical condition .
Most teens can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with fever and aches. Don’t take aspirin or any products that contain aspirin, though. If kids and teens take aspirin while they have the flu, it puts them at risk for Reye syndrome , which is rare but can be serious.
Antibiotics don’t work on viruses, so they won’t help someone with the flu get better. Sometimes doctors can prescribe an antiviral medicine to cut down how long a person is ill from the flu. These medicines are effective only against some types of flu virus and work best when taken within 48 hours of when symptoms start. Doctors usually use this medicine for people who are very young, elderly, or at risk for serious problems, like people with asthma.
Don’t Miss: Tylenol Severe Cold And Flu Day And Night
Covid Symptoms From Day 1 To Day 10
The initial days between when you are infected, and when you begin to show symptoms are called the incubation period. If you start showing symptoms of COVID-19, make sure to immediately isolate, get tested, and keep a list of people youve seen and places you visited, Dr. Shah says. This will be invaluable should your test come back positive. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, whether you are vaccinated or not, it is critical that you get tested for COVID-19.
Symptoms can present differently in each and every patient. Dr. Shah provides a timeline of COVID symptoms day by day:
How To Prevent Coronavirus
As per a report given by the World Health Organization, one must wash their hands for 40 seconds with soap. If one has symptoms like a sore throat or dry cough, they are advised to self-quarantine. If it is absolutely necessary, they must use a medical mask and cover their nose and mouth. One must avoid touching their face regularly.
Recommended Reading: Target Gift Card With Flu Shot
When Should I See A Health Care Provider
Consult your health care provider early if you develop flu-like symptoms and you have a condition that puts you at higher risk of complications.
You should also call your health care provider if your symptoms get worse, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain or signs of dehydration .
How Long Does A Runny Nose Last
Probably the most annoying symptom of a cold is the runny nose. This problem is messy, can interrupt sleep, and can be extremely distracting. Thankfully runny noses tend to get better on their own as your body fights off the infection. However, a runny nose is usually one of the last symptoms of the cold to go away.
Most often your nose will start running two or three days into your cold. These couple of days will be the worst of the runny nose. However, your nose may stay slightly runny for ten to fourteen days total.
You can use over-the-counter medications like Dayquil or Nightquil to treat your runny nose. Also, it is important to have tissues to blow into and Vaseline or other balm to use on your nose as it gets irritated. If your runny nose does not go away after fourteen days, you should contact your doctor.
Don’t Miss: When Does Flu Vaccine Expire
It Has Become Very Important To Know The Proper Coronavirus Symptoms In Order To Recognise The Disease Here Is A Day
Coronavirus or COVID-19 had gripped the world as it is rapidly spreading all across various countries. With more than 2 lakh cases and as many as 10,000 fatalities, the virus also brought about a lockdown to many cities and countries. There have been many speculations as to what the coronavirus symptoms are. Symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, mild fever and headache are the symptoms of the common flu. They are not the coronavirus symptoms.
It is very important to have the right information so that one can monitor the coronavirus symptoms day by day. While there is no cure or medicine found for coronavirus, doctors and medical institutions worldwide have found a pattern in coronavirus symptoms. There are five coronavirus symptoms stages that one needs to look at in order to confirm whether they have contracted COVID-19.
What Are Common Cold Symptoms
Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.
Read Also: What To Do If Arm Hurts After Flu Shot
What Are Signs That Your Cold Is Getting Better
The largest sign that your cold is getting better is that you will begin to feel better. If you have a fever it should go away around this time. You should feel stronger and your appetite should return.
Keep in mind that just because all of your symptoms do not go away doesnt mean you are not recovering. It is common for sore throats and runny noses to continue for a while after you have started recovering from a cold. This is normal.
You should be completely back to normal by day fourteen-or two weeks after your cold began. If you are still dealing with persistent symptom, you should seek out a doctors opinion at this time, as your cold may have turned into something else.
Which Children Are At Risk For The Flu
A child is more at risk for the flu if he or she:
Is around people infected with the flu
Has not had the flu vaccine
Does not wash his or her hands after touching infected surfaces
Young children and children with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk for a hospital stay or severe or complicated influenza infection.
Read Also: Flu And Pneumonia Vaccine Same Day
Is The Flu Contagious
The flu is very contagious. People can spread it from a day before they feel sick until their symptoms are gone. This is about 1 week for adults, but it can be longer for young kids.
The flu usually happens in annual epidemics. An epidemic is when an illness spreads quickly and infects lots of people in an area at the same time. Some years the epidemic is more severe and widespread than others. An epidemic that spreads worldwide is called a pandemic. This is far less common. There were three influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and one so far in the 21st century, in 2009 with influenza A .
During the coronavirus pandemic, experts found that wearing masks can help protect the community from the spread of germs. They recommended that all children age 2 and up wear a mask when out in public or around people who don’t live with them. Wearing masks can also help stop the spread of flu.
Flu Symptoms Day By Day And Treatments
Below are the progressions stages of the flu in 2020:
The day before, the flu symptoms show you might still be contagious. During this stage, you will be feeling okay and will be able to carry on with your daily activities. Day zero of flu infection can be 48 hours after contact with someone with flu symptoms and is contagious.
During this period, the flu virus will spread through aerosol oral or nasal droplets, especially when you sneeze, talk, or cough.
Day one is the day when flu symptoms start showing. You are likely to feel okay when you wake up and start showing signs as the hours pass. Some of the initial flu symptoms you might experience include:
- Body aches and fatigue
- Chills throughout the body
Once you experience the above signs, you should consider visiting a doctor. The doctor can recommend a rapid test to confirm the viral infection. Your doctor will then recommend antiviral medications such as Tamiflu.
During the second day, the flu symptoms might be severe, and you might wake up feeling miserable. Sometimes, you might not be able to get out of bed. At this stage, you are still contagious and might portray additional symptoms such as congestion, coughing, and itchy eyelids.
At this stage, it is advisable to stay at home for 24 hours after your fever is gone unless you are seeking medical services or other necessities.
Also Check: Can You Get A Flu Shot While Sick
What Is The Flu In Children
Influenza is a very contagious viral infection that affects the air passages of the lungs. It causes a high fever, body aches, a cough, and other symptoms. It is one of the most severe and common viral illnesses of the winter season. Most children are ill with the flu for less than a week. But some children have a more serious illness and may need to be treated in the hospital. The flu may also lead to lung infection or death.
Not Drinking Sufficient Fluids
Many parents know to look out for dehydration when their children have a stomach bug but might not think about it with respiratory illnesses like the flu. Some kids vomit when they have the flu, making it that much more important to be vigilant about your childs hydration.
Often, the flu can make kids very tired and want to sleep all day and all night until they recoversomething that can be made worse by dehydration. In between bouts of sleep, children should try to take small sips of clear liquids to ensure theyre getting enough fluids.
If you don’t know if your child is dehydrated, one way to check is to keep an eye on the number of times they go to the bathroom and the color of their urine. If the child is going less often than normal and/or the urine is dark yellow, then its possible your child isnt getting enough fluids.
Other signs of dehydration to watch out for include dry lips, pale hands and feet, sunken eyes, and crying without tears. If those signs appear, your childs medical provider may want to see your child or direct you to a hospital or other location to receive IV fluids.
You May Like: Tylenol Cold And Flu Medication
What Are The Symptoms
Influenza symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness and cough. Children may also experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Although infections from other viruses may have similar symptoms, those due to the influenza virus tend to be worse.
Symptoms can begin about 1 to 4 days, or an average of 2 days, after a person is first exposed to the influenza virus. Fever and other symptoms can usually last up to 7 to 10 days, but the cough and weakness may last 1 to 2 weeks longer.
Why Days 5 Through 10 Are The Most Important
Days five through 10 are the most important because is the time frame that respiratory complications will most likely arise.
Days 5-10 are crucial because it helps us ascertain whether additional breathing support may be needed, particularly in older patients, or those with preexisting conditions, Dr. Shah explains. Essentially, if a patient is going to take a turn for the worse, these are the days we typically see it. As I said, its particularly important to track any differences in shortness of breath, and if you can, monitor your blood oxygen level.
Healthy Now Newsletter
If you dont have a pulse oximeter at home keep an eye out for a blue tinge to the lips and skin. If you begin to notice this, or if youre noticing a downward trend in oxygen levels- its time for a trip to the emergency room. Other worrying symptoms that may prompt a visit include difficulty staying awake, confusion, or intensifying chest pain or pressure, Dr. Shah adds.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you should always speak with your doctor.
Also Check: Children’s Flu Medicine Otc