It can be difficulty to know if you are coming down with a simple cold and a life threatening episode of the flu. Colds and flu have similar symptoms. But you need to know the difference.
What causes the flu?
There are 4 types of influenza virus. Only three types infect humans: A, B, C. Influenza A and influenza B cause serious illness and epidemics. Influenza C causes a mild illnesses.
What causes a cold?
The common cold is usually due to a rhinovirus. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.
What are the similarities between the flu and a cold?
Both are respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses but here’s the difference. Colds are usually milder. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds develop over a few days and make you feel tired or just miserable in general.
The flu starts abruptly and progresses quickly to fever, muscle aches, chills, headache and chest pain. Pneumonia is a serious complication of the flu and can be fatal.
What to Do if You have the Flu?
Contact your doctor immediately. Getting anti-viral medication within 72 hours from the onset of symptoms can turn a life-threatening case of the flu into a mild illness.
When is it safe to return to work?
According to the Center for Disease Control, “The period when an infected person is contagious depends on the age and health of the person. You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.”