(RxWiki News) The common cold and flu have similar symptoms, so it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two. Read on to find out how.
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.
The flu is usually worse than the common cold. Flu symptoms are typically more intense and include fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and cough.
People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds don't usually result in serious health problems like pneumonia or hospitalization, which are common complications of the flu.
Regardless of whether it's the flu or a cold, here's how you can protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Try to limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If possible, avoid touching commonly touched surfaces, including shared writing instruments, public doorknobs and light switches.
- Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that may be contaminated.
- Limit contact with others to prevent infecting others. A good rule of thumb is to stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw the tissue away. If a tissue is nowhere to be found while your nose tickles, sneeze into your upper sleeve. Coughing or sneezing into your hands can still spread germs, especially if you touch common surfaces or objects afterward. After, wash your hands with soap and water.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination to prevent the flu.
Ask your pharmacist and doctor any questions you have about colds or the flu.