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Is It the Flu or a Cold? Here’s How You Can Tell

There is no imminent sign that the flu epidemic is going away soon, at present the number of Americans suffering from the flu is at more than 60,000 people.  A health expert explained why the flu season is worse this year than ever before; apparently the leading strain of flu this year is H3N2, a strain that has been linked with severe symptoms, and a higher rate of hospitalization and deaths. Knowing what illness you are trying to cure is the first step to take whenever you feel sick.  The dilemma to differentiate whether you have the flu or a cold happens, as soon as you get up in the morning feeling feverish, coughing, and sneezing.  It is vital that you know the difference between the two, since having the flu will need the immediate attention of a doctor, while having a cold means you just need to take rest at home and drink lots of fluids to make it disappear.  Even though most of the symptoms of the two conditions are quite similar, there are means to tell them apart.

HOW TO Differentiate between the two…


Some of the common symptoms that a cold and flu have are fever, sore throat, cough, headache, sneezing, and congestion.  How you are able to tell the two from one another lies with the acuteness of the symptoms.  One of the symptoms that accompanies the flu but not a cold is body and muscle ache.  You may sometimes have it with a severe cold, but it will not be as bad as how it is with the flu.


While the symptoms of a cold will not appear until a few days after you pick up the virus, and you will feel it coming, then it progresses gradually from bad to worse.  The flu, however, is quite different in this department, once you get exposed to a virus carrier in the morning, you will surely feel the symptoms during the afternoon.  You will go from feeling good to bad very quickly.


If you feel sick but still can get out of bed to do some chores or even go to work or school, you most likely have a cold.  When you have the flu, body and muscle aches and exhaustion are so severe you will find it difficult to even get out of bed to go to the bathroom.


Many Americans are wondering why the flu season is really bad this year, and why have people, who have had flu shots, still coming down with the flu.  According to health experts the answer lies within the question – the problem is with the vaccine itself.  It seems that the vaccine is only twenty five percent effective against the powerful H3N2 strain.  To explain it simply, the vaccine does not match the virus it is combating with.  Apparently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC produces the vaccine a few months before the flu season begins, a time before doctors can determine which among the three flu strain will be predominant in the coming flu season.  And the effectiveness of the vaccine that were recently made available and administered, was very low against the H3N2 strain.


Whether you have the flu or just a cold, it is important for your body to get enough rest. It is through proper rest that your body is able to strengthen the immune system, your body’s protection against diseases.  You should drink a lot of fluids to hydrate your body, since you will have the tendency to lose fluids through sweating and sometimes vomiting.  If you can, eat, there is really no better cure for a cold or the flu than a body that is strong enough to fight against the disease.

If you feel you have the flu, it is very important that you seek immediate medical attention.  According to health experts, the safe gap for successful recovery is only forty eight hours from the time you first feel the flu symptoms.  And with all the fatality brought about by this season’s flu, you should go to the doctor as soon as you notice it is the flu you have and not a cold.

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