Cough. Sneeze. Shiver. Hack.
Hundreds of words might exist to refer to the physical feelings that arise when we fall ill. Although these details may not be pleasant to discuss, they can be useful for recognizing the contrast between the common cold and influenza (the yearly flu).
Is it a wheezing dry cough or phlegm-filled sneeze? Did you get a fever rapidly, or did it develop gradually over a few days? It’s important to identify signs of illness early in order to undertake the necessary steps to achieve a full recovery and avoid spreading the illness to other people.
How can one differentiate between the signs of the flu, the signs of the common cold, and those indicating COVID-19 infection? Here’s what you need to know.
Reading the Signs: How You Can Tell the Difference Between Flu and Cold Symptoms
1. Flu Symptoms Hit Fast
Unexpectedly, the flu can come on suddenly, and the illness can be more frightening than expected. Traditionally, signs of a cold include a fever that hits suddenly, shivers, body aches, a slight headache, and tiredness. You could possibly experience additional signs and symptoms, such as a stuffy nose and coughing. You feel lousy, and you feel lousy fast.
How Long Does the Flu Last?
A person infected with the flu can expect to experience it within one to four days, and the symptoms will last approximately five to seven days. Nevertheless, exhaustion can linger for several more days.
How Long Does a Cold Last?
A chill creeps up slowly and tends to linger for a more extended period than influenza. Cold germs are contagious for the first three days. Your cough and stuffiness could endure up to three weeks; however, other cold signs that maintain for over a week, such as fever, agony in the chest area, or sinus pain, may indicate bacterial or sinus contamination.
If you experience long-lasting symptoms, don’t ignore them. Talk with a doctor. They can work to identify the issue and suggest a plan of action.
2. Colds Don’t Usually Come with a Significant Fever
Although your body temperature may be slightly elevated, it is rare for a cold to be accompanied by an extreme fever. The flu usually presents itself with a few days of temperatures above 100°F, even though it is not necessary to have a fever for the flu.
A flu fever will likely come on fast. This is an especially common flu symptom in kids. Be vigilant when caring for young children and senior citizens, as they are more likely to experience difficulties. Also, keep drinking liquids and get lots of rest.
3. A Dry Cough Screams Influenza
Coughing is a sign of both common cold and flu symptoms, yet the type of cough you experience is distinctive. The flu will lead to a dry cough that doesn’t result in any mucus. A wet, phlegm-filled cough is typically one of the many symptoms of a cold.
4. Sore Throat, Sneezing, or Stuffy Nose Are More Common Cold Symptoms
If you demonstrate these indicators, it is probable that you have a cold. When suffering from the flu, sneezing and a congested nose may occur, though they are more common when one has a cold.
5. The Flu Comes with Muscle Aches
Physical aches and discomforts are very commonly experienced alongside the flu, whereas they are relatively uncommon with a cold. If you have a high temperature and feel generally unwell, there is a good chance that you have the flu.
6. Extreme Fatigue Is a Telltale Sign of the Flu
If you’re lethargic or excessively tired, it’s probably caused by the flu. Despite the end of other flu symptoms, there may be times when you remain exhausted for a few days. In contrast, it is unlikely that a cold will impede your usual activities.
All of us have gone through colds, during which one can experience a mild fever, discomfort, and cough. If you’ve been feeling like you’ve been run over by a vehicle, it is probable that you have influenza.
Cold and Flu Remedies to Get You Feeling Better Faster
If you suspect that you have the flu, what steps can you take to treat it at home? What about a cold? How can you start feeling better? Read on.
Start with home remedies for colds and flu.
It is important that you remain at your house if you are not feeling well, particularly if you have a fever. It is recommended that you remain quarantined for a full day after your fever subsides without taking any fever-lowering medicines. Here are some steps you can take at home to feel better:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink lots of fluids (focus on water).
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to help lower your temperature and get some headache or muscle ache relief. Warning: Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or teenagers who have the flu, as it comes with a small risk of causing the potentially fatal Reye Syndrome.
Get treatment and care without leaving the house.
Even if you have a fever and you cannot get away from your house, you can still acquire superior care for colds and the flu through the Internet.
Set up a virtual consultation with a doctor or nurse practitioner for personalized attention. Your physician will pay attention to your signs, respond to inquiries, and collaborate with you to establish a customized treatment plan if necessary.
Schedule a video visit.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace, through Virtual. No scheduled visit is needed with Virtuwell; you can access care any hour of the day or night. Getting started is easy. We will interrogate you regarding a few topics, and from there, a specialist certified nurse practitioner will give you a conclusion and a plan of action. Every consultation is priced at $59 or less, contingent on your insurance coverage.
No form of medicine exists that can cure a cold. If one is suffering from influenza, drugs such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) can be beneficial. These medicines fight off the flu by hindering viruses from multiplying in your system and give the most effective results if taken within two days of the start of the symptoms.
During your virtual video session or Virtuwell consultation, your physician or specialist will establish if a virus-fighting drug should be included in your treatment plan. Should there be a requirement, your doctor can provide you with a prescription to be sent to the pharmacy of your choosing.
Go to the emergency room if serious flu symptoms arise.
Colds rarely turn into something more serious. But influenza can have very serious complications. Head to the emergency room if you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Flu-like symptoms that improved but then returned worse.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Sudden dizziness or confusion.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
Specifically, for children, go to your nearest emergency room if your child:
- Is less than 3 months old and has a fever of above 100.4° Fahrenheit.
- Is between 3 months old and 3 years old, has a fever of above 100.4° Fahrenheit, and is showing signs of dehydration (e.g. dry eyes or mouth, hasn’t urinated in several hours).
- Has a fever with a rash.
- Has skin or lips that have turned gray or blue.
- Is extremely irritable.
- Isn’t eating or drinking.
- Isn’t waking up or interacting with you?
What Is Covid-19, How Does It Spread, and How Is It Treated?
The coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, induces an infectious pulmonary problem known as COVID-19. It is normally transmitted between individuals who are in close proximity. The virus is transmissible through airborne droplets generated while breathing, coughing, sneezing, verbalizing, and singing. The liquid particles can find their way into the oral or nasal cavity of someone close by or be drawn into the lungs. The virus can be transmitted if you have contact with something contaminated by it, then touch any of your facial orifices like your mouth, nose, or eyes. But this risk is low.
The general indicators of having contracted COVID-19 are having a fever, coughing often, and feeling exhausted. But there are many other possible signs and symptoms.
At the moment, just one medicine which includes the ingredient remdesivir is sanctioned to deal with COVID-19. Other drugs may help reduce the severity of COVID-19.
What’s the Difference Between Covid-19 and the Common Cold?
Viruses are the cause of both the COVID-19 virus and the regular cold. SARS-CoV-2 is the source of the COVID-19 virus, while rhinoviruses are typically the force behind the common cold. These viruses can be transmitted in a similar manner and tend to bring on a number of similar signs and symptoms. However, there are a few differences.
The onset of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 usually occurs between two to fourteen days after direct contact with SARS-CoV-2. It usually takes 1 to 3 days following contact with a virus that triggers a cold before manifestations of the illness appear.
There’s no cure for the common cold. Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants may be utilized to provide relief from pain and ease symptoms of colds. Unlike COVID-19, a cold is usually harmless. The majority of individuals typically bounce back from the typical cold in a period ranging from three to ten days. However, certain common colds can persist for up to three weeks.
What’s the Difference Between Covid-19 and Seasonal Allergies?
Unlike COVID-19, seasonal allergies aren’t caused by a virus. Immunity issues set off by contact with substances like the pollens from trees and grass that are active during the different seasons cause seasonal allergies.
The symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are very similar. However, there are some differences.
COVID-19 can cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. However, if you suffer from asthma or another respiratory health issue, pollen can provoke the symptoms of allergies during its season.
One technique for managing seasonal allergies can include the use of antihistamines, steroidal nasal sprays, and decongestants, either obtained over the counter or via prescription. Additionally, it is beneficial to attempt to prevent contact with allergens that trigger the allergies. Seasonal allergies may last several weeks.
What’s the Difference Between Covid-19 and the Flu?
Coronavirus disease 2019 and influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses that are transmitted by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Influenza A and B viruses are responsible for the occurrence of the flu. All of these viruses spread in similar ways.
COVID-19 and the flu cause similar symptoms. These illnesses may have no signs and symptoms or may show up in a mild or severe form. Testing may be conducted to determine whether or not one has contracted COVID-19 or influenza due to the similarities between the two illnesses. It is also possible for you to have both of these illnesses simultaneously. However, there are some differences.
Generally, two to two weeks after having been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 start to make themselves evident. The effects of the flu typically start manifesting one to four days after coming into contact with it.
In certain individuals, COVID-19 can create more alarming medical conditions than influenza. In addition to the flu-like symptoms associated with COVID-19, the virus can cause a range of other issues, including blood clotting, post-COVID ailments, and an inflammatory syndrome in kids.
There is only one antiviral treatment for COVID-19. However, there are many medications that can be taken to combat the flu virus. You can also protect yourself from getting the flu by getting a yearly flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine can help to weaken the intensity of the flu and it can also diminish the chance of having any severe outcomes. The vaccine can be administered as an injection or through a nasal mist. You can have a COVID-19 shot to help lower the chances of contracting the virus.
How Can You Avoid Getting COVID-19, A Cold, and the Flu?
Get a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination against COVID-19 significantly decreases the odds of catching and propagating the virus. Get a flu vaccine too. You can reduce the chance of being infected with the flu by getting an immunization yearly. It can be administered through an injection or as a nasal spray. The flu vaccine reduces the probability of getting severe influenza. It also lowers the risk of serious complications.
Decrease your chance of becoming infected with COVID-19 by making sure that your vaccinations and follow-up shots (if necessary) are up to date. The Food and Drug Administration has made a decision to allow the emergency use of some vaccines for individuals starting at 6 months of age. The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light for those inoculations to be utilized by those aged 12 and up.
For those with allergies to available vaccine options and those with compromised immune systems, the FDA has provided emergency use authorization for a treatment that must be re-administered every six months.
You can reduce the chances of catching viruses that cause the common cold, influenza, and COVID-19 by adhering to some basic precautionary steps. Studies indicate that adherence to preventive steps, like staying away from others and wearing a face mask, could have lessened the severity of the influenza outbreak throughout the 2019-2020 season. Results suggest it may have shortened the season and reduced the amount of those infected.
Follow these standard precautions:
- Get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
- Keep a distance between yourself and others when you’re in indoor public spaces. This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness. Keep in mind that some people may have COVID-19 and spread the COVID-19 virus to others, even if they don’t have symptoms or don’t know they have COVID-19.
- Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces if you’re in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases, whether or not you’re vaccinated.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid crowded indoor spaces and indoor places that have poor airflow, also called ventilation.
- Improve the airflow indoors. Open windows. Turn on fans to direct air out of windows. If you can’t open windows, consider using air filters. And turn on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen. You also might consider a portable air cleaner.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue. Wash your hands right away.