General Question

skfinkel's avatar

How can you tell it's a cold and not the flu?

Asked by skfinkel (12864 points ) February 19th, 2009

no sore throat, lots of sneezing (although that’s abating), nose running, headache, tired, no fever. Coughing is developing.

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13 Answers

jasongarrett's avatar

“It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone.”
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms.htm

Vinifera7's avatar

In my unprofessional opinion, I’d say that you have a cold, not the flu. I tend to associate the flu with fatigue, body aches, fever, and sometimes nausea.

artificialard's avatar

Here’s a good article. For me I’d say cold’s are more respiratory – stuffy, sneezy, etc. Flus are more all-over symptoms, especially fevers, aching muscles.

Keep in mind that you antibiotics will help with neither. If it’s bad though you may want to see a doctor about meds that can help manage the disease/symptoms. Once I had the most horrible flu and a doctor prescribed Tamiflu that was a godsend. YMWV.

Blondesjon's avatar

If it’s a cold you feel like you’re dying. If it’s the flu you know you are.

Vinifera7's avatar

@Blondesjon
I can’t say that I’ve ever been that ill. My lineage has some resilient genes. The longest that I’ve been sick for was a week and a half with the flu. It was pretty horrible, but I didn’t think that I was dying.

Darwin's avatar

With the flu your muscles ache and you have a fever.

With strep throat you have a fever but no muscle aches.

With a cold you don’t have fever or muscle aches.

With any or all of these you may also have a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, a headache or sinus ache, and a great need to lie down and sleep. You may also wish you were dead.

Of the three, the flu is the only one that actually could make you dead – in the US about 20,000 people die from the flu each year (some years are even higher). When I was about 7, the father of a friend of mine died from the flu. He was 32 years old.

Antibiotics only work on the strep throat.

skfinkel's avatar

Is it feed a cold, starve a fever?

shilolo's avatar

With mostly URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, cough, you likely have a cold. As others have said, influenza tends to be more of a total body experience, with fever, myalgias (muscle aches), headache, nausea, and anorexia (no appetite).

AstroChuck's avatar

And the only thing that will relieve that fever is more cowbell.

loser's avatar

If I can move, it’s a cold.

poofandmook's avatar

learn something new every day… I thought the difference was a just fever.

loser's avatar

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