Who Is At High Risk
Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying as a result of COVID-19 and flu are:
- Older adults.
- Pregnant people.
- Those with underlying health issues.
These groups are more likely to develop complications from the viruses and require hospital care. People in these groups are also more likely to die from a COVID-19 or flu infection.
What Is Type A Flu Virus
Type A flu or influenza A viruses are capable of infecting animals, although it is more common for people to suffer the ailments associated with this type of flu. Wild birds commonly act as the hosts for this flu virus.
Type A flu virus is constantly changing and is generally responsible for the large flu epidemics. The influenza A2 virus is spread by people who are already infected. The most common flu hot spots are those surfaces that an infected person has touched and rooms where they have been recently, especially areas where they have been sneezing.
British Columbia Specific Information
Influenza, also called the flu, is an infection of the upper airway caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat or cough. The influenza vaccines protect against the viruses that cause influenza. To learn more about the flu and the flu vaccines, and to access flu-related information from your health authority, visit our Influenza Season health feature.
The symptoms of flu are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the common cold and COVID-19. Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to find out if you or your family members need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. To learn more about the coronavirus, symptoms, how it spreads and prevention visit the Coronavirus health feature.
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How To Treat A Cold
Because a cold is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective at treating it.
However, over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, , acetaminophen, and NSAIDs, can relieve congestion, aches, and other cold symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Some people take natural remedies, such as zinc, vitamin C, or echinacea, to prevent or relieve cold symptoms. The evidence is mixed on whether they work.
A 2015 study in BMC Family Practice found that high-dose zinc lozenges could shorten the length of colds if taken within 24 hours of showing symptoms.
Vitamin C doesnt seem to prevent colds, but if you take it consistently, it might lessen your symptoms, according to a 2013 Cochrane review. Echinacea in BMJ found vitamin D helps protect against both colds and flu.
Colds usually clear up within 7 to 10 days. See a doctor if:
- your cold hasnt improved in about a week
- you start to run a high fever
- your fever doesnt go down
You could have allergies or a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics, such as sinusitis or strep throat. A nagging cough could also be a sign of asthma or bronchitis.
Knowing The Difference Between A Cold The Flu And Covid
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|Muscle pain or body aches|
|Vomiting and diarrhea|
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If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, use our MyChart self-checker to determine your next steps.
Still unsure? Have questions? Contact your health care provider today.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Bird Flu
Bird flu can present in a range of severities. Some individuals can be asymptomatic or have a mild illness, whereas others might develop serious complications. However, symptoms will generally resemble typical flu symptoms and include:
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Muscle aching
Although avian influenza is very rare, if infected, this virus can result in numerous complications. Similar to Covid-19, this virus can lead to more severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or acute respiratory distress . Additionally, avian flu can lead to sepsis or infection of your bloodstream that can cause damage to your other organs, including your heart and kidneys.
Is It Flu Or Cold Symptoms
How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.
Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia can be life-threatening
Wash hands often avoid close contact with anyone with a cold
Wash hands often avoid close contact with anyone who has flu symptoms get the annual flu vaccine
pain reliever/fever reducer medicines
Usually, the time of year will give you some sense of what you’re dealing with. The standard flu season runs from fall to spring of the next year.
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What Is The Difference Between The Flu And A Common Cold
Janet Smith, CNP discusses cold and flu concerns. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.
Not sure if you have a cold or the flu?
While theyre both respiratory sicknesses and often have the same symptoms, theyre caused by different viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Flu symptoms are usually worse and come on more quickly than a cold, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of a cold include:
- Runny nose
Related Conditions Of Cold And Flu
The CDCs website presents weekly updates on flu activity nationwide. The site details how the flu may be spreading in each state and which strains of the virus are most prominent. It also contains useful guidelines for the most current treatments and vaccinations.
Founded in 1973, the NFID is a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public and healthcare providers about infectious diseases. Its influenza web page provides basic information about the flu and links to sections about influenza in vulnerable segments of the population, such as children and older adults.
Thanks to this search function on the CDC’s website, you can locate your state health department, which can then help you find direct access to your countys health department. Your local health department will likely provide updated information on flu activity in your area, as well as information on how to access vaccinations.
The WHOs global influenza website provides worldwide surveillance information on flu outbreaks and what prevention efforts are taking place. It also provides information from its conferences regarding future strategies to combat the flu.
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What Is A Flu Pandemic
Flu pandemics happen when a new strain of the flu A virus appears. A new viral strain quickly spreads because most people aren’t immune and a vaccine that offers immediate protection isn’t widely available. As a result, it spreads across several countries around the world, causing widespread illness.
The World Health Organization says the following conditions can lead to a flu pandemic:
- The virus is able to infect humans
- The virus is able to spread easily from human to human
- The virus must cause serious illness or death in humans
While flu pandemics are rare, they do occur periodically. There have been four flu pandemics since the beginning of the 20th century, the most severe being the Spanish flu of 1918:
- 1918 Spanish flu pandemic: Killed approximately 675,000 in the U.S.
- 1957-1958 Asian flu pandemic: Caused an estimated 116,000 U.S. deaths
- 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic: Linked to around 100,000 deaths in the U.S.
- 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic: Responsible for an estimated 12,469 U.S. deaths
Just like with an epidemic, a flu pandemic is over when the number of cases is no longer above a defined threshold. However, the virus can continue to circulate in humans even after the pandemic is over. Take the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic: Even though WHO declared an end to this pandemic in 2010, H1N1 continues to circulate as a seasonal flu virus, causing illness and hospitalization worldwide every year.
How Does A Flu Virus Make Me Sick
Flu viruses enter the body through the mucus membranes of your nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you are possibly infecting yourself with a virus.
This makes it very important to keep your hands germ-free with frequent and thorough hand washing. Encourage family members to do the same to stay well and prevent flu.
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How Can They Be Treated
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor and get tested for both the flu and COVID-19 as soon as possible. The flu can be treated with an antiviral drug which helps to reduce the severity of symptoms.8
In mild cases of COVID-19, plenty of rest and fluids are recommended. Isolate yourself from your family, and continue to monitor your symptoms. While most people can recover at home, you should seek emergency medical treatment if you have trouble breathing, chest pressure, new confusion, an inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.9
Complications Of Cold And Flu
Most common colds are not severe, but they can worsen or lead to health complications.
Enteroviruses that are often the culprits in the common cold can cause brain lining inflammation that causes severe headaches, difficulty looking at bright lights, neck stiffness, high fever, and confusion, says Cameron Wolfe, MBBS, an infectious-disease specialist at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.
If cold or flu symptoms persist or worsen, the patient may have a secondary or bacterial infection. That can lead to sinus or ear infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. The flu can also worsen preexisting medical problems, such as triggering asthma attacks in people with asthma.
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Can I Prevent Flu Or Cold Symptoms
The most important prevention measure for preventing colds and flu is frequent hand washing. Hand washing by rubbing the hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds helps to slough germs off the skin.
In addition to hand washing to prevent flu or cold symptoms, you can also get a flu vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza. Seasonal flu activity in the United States generally peaks between late December and early March. Within two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, antibodies develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Children receiving the vaccine for the first time need two doses delivered one month apart.
Antiviral medicine may also help prevent flu if you have been exposed to someone with flu symptoms.
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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.
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What Is Influenza A
Influenza A is a type of virus that causes influenza , a highly contagious respiratory illness. If you get it, you will need to rest at home and avoid infecting others. Vaccination can protect you against influenza A.
Although coronavirus , is a viral illness that has developed into a pandemic, the virus that causes COVID-19 is different from the one that causes influenza.
Both the influenza A and influenza B viruses circulate in the community and change continually, with new strains coming out each winter. This is why yearly vaccination is recommended.
What Are Common Flu Symptoms
Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. A common complication of the flu is pneumonia, particularly in the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems. If you notice shortness of breath, let your doctor know. Another common sign of pneumonia is fever that comes back after having been gone for a day or two.
Just like cold viruses, flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you could be infecting yourself with a virus, which makes it very important to keep hands germ-free with frequent washing to prevent both flu and cold symptoms.
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Severity Of Illness And Death Rate
COVID-19 also appears to cause more severe illness more frequently than seasonal influenza. Part of this difference may be attributed to the fact that COVID-19 is caused by a new type of coronavirus, against which humans have no immunity. By contrast, many people have at least some degree of immunity against seasonal influenza, enough to prevent hospitalization and complications in most instances.
Along those same lines, COVID-19 is deadlier than influenza. The mortality rate of influenza is roughly 0.1 percent. Meanwhile, the case fatality rate for COVID-19 is estimated to be about 1.4-4.5 percent, with risk of death being significantly higher for older persons than for younger individuals.
Treatment And Medication Options For Cold And Flu
There is no cure for either the flu or the common cold. There are over-the-counter options that can ease throat pain and cough, decongest the nose and sinuses, and lessen body aches and headaches.
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What Are The Different Types Of Flu
There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that have up to 20% of the population sniffling, aching, coughing, and running high fevers. Type C also causes flu however, type C flu symptoms are much less severe.
The flu is linked to between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. The seasonal flu vaccine was created to try to avert these epidemics.
These Are 6 Of The Main Differences Between Flu And Coronavirus
The World Health Organization has released a report outlining the differences between the flu and coronavirus.
There are some obvious similarities:
They both spread by contact. Touching a contaminated person or surface and then touching your face is a surefire way to get sick.
Many of the symptoms are similar: They both target the respiratory system, and in varying ways. Both cause fevers, tiredness and coughing. Severe respiratory cases can become pneumonia, which can kill.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak. You can also sign up to our dedicated newsletter.
Here are six differences between coronavirus and the flu:
Coronavirus appears to spread more slowly than the flu. This is probably the biggest difference between the two. The flu has a shorter incubation period and a shorter serial interval . Coronaviruss serial interval is around five to six days, while flus gap between cases is more like three days, the WHO says. So flu still spreads more quickly.
Secondary infections. As if contracting coronavirus wasnt bad enough, it leads to about two more secondary infections on average. The flu can sometimes cause a secondary infection, usually pneumonia, but its rare for a flu patient to get two infections after the flu. The WHO warned that context is key .
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What Kinds Of Complications May Occur
Both the flu and COVID-19 can result in complications1 for high-risk individuals, some of which can be life-threatening , however, additional complications exist with COVID-19:
- Blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs, or brain have been reported in adults who develop a severe case of COVID-19.1
- Children who develop COVID-19 are at a higher risk of developing multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, a rare but severe complication of COVID-19.7