Is It a Cold or the Flu?

By Mariève Inoue

Cold and flu season is upon us, and many a sniffling nose and plenty of sneezes can be heard all around. But do you have the flu, or is it merely a common cold? Here is how to tell which is which, as well as tips on how to feel better.

It’s a cold if…

  • Your symptoms appear gradually (over the span of a few days).
  • You’re feeling just a little “under the weather”.
  • You sneeze a lot.
  • You have a sore throat.
  • You have a stuffy nose.
  • You have a deep, hacky cough.
  • It only lasts a few days.

It’s the flu if…

  • You have a fever.
  • Your symptoms appear suddenly (within a few hours).
  • You feel extremely tired.
  • You have the chills.
  • You have a dry cough.
  • You have a headache.
  • Your whole body aches.
  • It can last up to several weeks.

How to avoid getting sick

Don’t spend the cold season coughing and sniffling! Click here for a few simple cold and flu prevention tips. Also, make sure to include plenty of antioxidants in your diet to keep your body healthy.

How to feel better
The best way to feel better if you do get sick is to drink a lot of fluids, and to get plenty of rest. It’s no use taking antibiotics to treat a cold or flu, as both these illnesses are caused by a virus. They’ll eventually pass; however, you can treat some of your symptoms to help yourself feel better.

For example, you can:

  • Take a decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. Tylenol Sinus and Advil Cold & Sinus are two popular types of medication that are sold over the counter.
  • Take a pain reliever / fever reducer to relieve your fever. Popular brands include Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Advil (Ibuprofen), and Motrin (Ibuprofen), and Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic Acid).

Important note: If your symptoms persist for an extended period of time or worsen, see your doctor.