How severe are your symptoms?
“Both the common cold and influenza can include upper respiratory symptoms such as sinus congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and cough, as well as systemic symptoms including fever,” says Clifford Swap, MD, an emergency medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA. However, flu symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe than in the common cold. Here’s how you can tell the difference between the flu and a cold.
Are you achy?
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You may notice some mild aches and pains with a cold. When they’re flu symptoms the pain is much greater, points out Dr. Swap. If you have the flu, your muscles and joints will hurt. The pain will often be felt in your head, back, and legs. It could even be painful to move.
Are you feverish?
While you may see the thermometer climb up to 99 or so, it is rare to have a high fever with a cold. With the flu, however, you usually (though not always) see a fever, often in the 100 to 102 range, points out the Mayo Clinic. Keep in mind that number can be higher, especially in young children. Don’t be surprised if the fever lasts several days. Even though it feels awful, remember that fevers are your body’s way of fighting off the infection. You can always try one of these natural flu remedies to quell those pesky symptoms.