If you or your child are feeling under the weather, you probably want to know what you have so you know the best course of action for treatment. With symptoms like fevers, coughs, nasal congestion, fatigue, body aches, and more, it may sometimes be hard to tell if it is a cold or the flu. These are two of the most common illnesses, and are often confused with each other because they have similar symptoms.
The flu and the common cold are both upper respiratory infections and are both caused by viruses. They are both easily spread through airborne droplets via coughing and sneezing, or through touching infected hands to the face. However, these viruses are not the same and most people present slightly different symptom patterns. Here is a little bit about each infection and its associated symptoms:
The common cold can be caused by a few different viruses, but coronaviruses (not COVID-19) and rhinoviruses are the most common. Symptoms usually onset over the course of a few days and can last up to two weeks. They include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Mild body aches
- Mild fatigue
Caused by a number of influenza viruses, the flu is typically more severe than a cold. Symptoms set in quickly and are often the most intense for the first 3-4 days. Most people recover in a week or so, but some may take 2 weeks to feel back to normal. Symptoms of the flu include:
- Shaking chills
- Body aches
While colds are often milder than flus, either illness may require medical intervention. Some people experience dehydration, pain, and other extreme symptoms and could benefit from treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from a severe cold or flu, call or come down to DuPage Immediate Care and get the care you need. Same-day appointments are usually available.