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Key Differences Between Cold and Flu Symptoms

Many patients are likely to get either the flu or the common cold this winter and spring season. More are likely to get both illnesses during the beginning of the new year. When patients get sick, it is important for them to understand the key differences between each illness.
Common colds and flu can cause extremely similar symptoms, but are the cause of different illnesses. Understand these differences ensure that patients are ready to seek out the most effective option for treatment.
So what should patients know about common colds and the influenza virus? How can patients tell the difference between a common cold and the flu?

How to identify flu symptoms

The flu is caused by a strain of the influenza virus, which changes and adapts each year. Influenza A or B can quickly infect patients in a given community. The flu is likely to spread within local communities as offices, schools, and crowded public spaces. Most cases of flu are spread through airborne means, where people sneezing and coughing spread germs that carry the flu virus.
The main influenza symptoms to watch for include the following:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Coughing
  3. Nausea
  4. Fatigue
  5. Fever
  6. Congestion

However, a case of the full-blown flu means that symptoms can last for more than a week, and even upwards of three weeks, if left untreated. Symptoms of the flu usually compound with one another within two to three days of an infection.
Each year, patients are recommended to get an annual flu shot in order to prevent flu infections. The flu virus can lead to harmful symptoms but is easily preventable with a flu shot!

How to identify common cold symptoms

The common cold is caused by a rhinovirus, which is a general term for viruses that infect patients through the upper respiratory system. A common cold can infect patients through airborne transmission via nostrils, throat, lung, and other parts of the respiratory system.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for the common cold, which means that patients will have to actively prevent a common cold in order avoid getting sick. Most patients are likely to have a common cold at least once during the winter or spring. The good news though is that a cold lasts for a little under a week and can be treated at a nearby urgent care center.
Common cold symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, nausea, and congestion are treatable with over the counter medicines and a quick urgent care visit!