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The Flu or Just a Cold?

Getting sick any time during the year is never a great feeling, but feeling under the weather during flu season can be very worrisome. Although some are similar, symptoms of a cold and symptoms of the flu are actually vastly different. Check out the symptoms of each below to see how you can have an idea of which one you might have the next time you get sick. 

Onset of Symptoms

When someone is getting a cold, the symptoms typically start very mildly and are sometimes almost unnoticeable. Then, the symptoms gradually worsen and the cold becomes full-fledged. When the flu virus infects the body, symptoms typically appear suddenly and aggressively. This is why people commonly say they “feel like they got hit by a truck” when they get the flu. 


Running a fever with a cold can happen, but it is actually very uncommon. However, some colds can cause a very low-grade fever as your body is fighting off the infection. A higher fever usually comes along with the flu. Without a thermometer, a high fever can be identified by chills, feeling cold, sensitive skin, and body aches.

Sneezing, Stuffy Nose, Sore Throat

These are the typical cold symptoms. Sore throats are very common with colds due to the drainage running down the back of the throat from your sinuses. People sometimes report sneezing, having a stuffy nose, and having a sore throat with the flu, but other symptoms like body aches, weakness, fatigue, and headaches are typically the most problematic and dreaded symptoms of the flu. 


A headache is pretty rare with common colds. If you do have a headache with a cold it is most likely the result of sinus pressure. However, headaches, sometimes severe, are very common with the flu. 


A cough can sometimes accompany a common cold but is usually not severe. On the other hand, coughing is a very prominent symptom of the flu. In fact, coughing is a big reason that the flu spreads because the virus is airborne. Simply breathing in the same room as a person coughing with the flu can infect you. 
If you experience symptoms you feel are serious or could be the flu, visit your local First Care Clinic to receive an examination and treatment from one of our wonderful Nurse Practitioners. Find your nearest First Care Clinic today!