Infographic from shine365.marshfieldclinic.org
When you wake up feeling terrible, you may not know whether it is a cold or the flu. It is a good idea to know which one you have so that you know how to treat it. If you have a common cold you would just need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take a cough and cold medicine. If you have the flu, you may need to see a doctor and take a medication for the flu. If you are sick, and you are not sure whether you have a cold or the flu, ask yourself the following questions.
Take Your Temperature
Because cold and flu symptoms can sometimes mimic each other, you should take your temperature to figure out which ailment you are suffering from. If you have a cold, it is very unlikely that your temperature will go higher than 101 degrees. Oftentimes, a person who has a cold won’t have a fever at all. If you have a fever that is over 101, chances are you have the flu.
Are You Exhausted?
If you are unsure whether you have a cold or the flu, you should consider how tired you are. A cold will make you feel tired and sluggish until you are feeling better. The tired feeling that you have when you have a cold differs from the flu. When most people have the flu, they will feel exhausted. Also, their body will feel weak and tired. This doesn’t usually happen with a common cold.
Is Your Nose Stuffy?
In most cases, a stuffy nose goes along with a cold and not the flu. If you are having trouble breathing through your nose, chances are a cold pill will help you breathe better. There are some cases that a stuffy nose will go along with the flu, but not too often.
Do You Have Body Aches?
When you have a cold, it is not uncommon to feel a bit achy. If you have the flu, the pain will be much more severe. The aches and pains associated with the flu can be so severe that your skin can actually feel like it is hurting. This type of pain does not go along with the common cold.
What Month is It?
The typical flu season runs from the fall through the winter. While it is possible to get the flu during the summer, it is not very common. If you are sick during the summer, chances are you have a cold.
Who Have You Been Around?
One sure fire way to determine whether you have a cold or the flu is to think about who you have been around. If you have been spending time with a friend, family member, or a co-worker who has the flu, chances are you have it also. The flu is very contagious, and if you spent time with someone who has the flu, chances are you do as well.
Have You Had a Flu Shot?
If you had a flu shot, the chances of your illness being the flu are very slim.
Visit the Doctor
If you are not sure if you have a cold or the flu, you can visit the doctor. A simple blood test will determine if you test positive for Influenza. If you find out early enough, the doctor can prescribe a medication to shorten the duration of the illness.
It is not as difficult as you may think to determine whether you have a cold or the flu. If you ask yourself the above questions, you should be able to make a self-diagnosis.