What’s the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Have you woken up achy and feverish? Can’t quit coughing or sneezing? Wondering whether you have a common cold or possibly the flu? Knowing the difference between cold and flu symptoms can be highly important. While a cold can leave you feeling bad for a few days, the flu can make many patients feel quite ill for weeks. This year, the flu has even resulted in serious health complications, hospital visits, and even death.

Understanding the Differences

Both the common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses that can result in a patient not feeling well. However, they are typically caused by completely different viruses. Due to the similarity in symptoms, however, it can be difficult for a patient to tell the difference in some cases. For the most part, a common cold is much milder than the flu, with less intense symptoms. The flu, on the other hand, can result in serious health complications such as bacterial infections, pneumonia, and other conditions that could lead to hospitalization. Young children, the elderly, and those that are immunocompromised are more likely to suffer from serious complications.

Cold Symptoms vs. Flu Symptoms

Although the symptoms of a common cold and the flu are quite similar, there are some differences. The flu is typically accompanied by fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, congestion, headaches, body aches and even fatigue. The common cold is typically accompanied by much milder symptoms and, generally, do not have serious health complications.

How Do I Tell the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Due to the fact that the common cold and the flu share symptoms, it is often difficult for a patient to self-diagnose based upon just their symptoms. At Preferred Urgent Care in Katy, we can perform special tests which can identify whether you are suffering from a cold or the flu.

Worried you or a loved one may have the flu? Stop by our Katy urgent care clinic today! We would be happy to test to see whether you have the flu and provide care to get you feeling better.

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