Saturday, January 24, 2009

Do you know the symptoms?

It seems as though everyone I speak with, year after year, thinks of the flu as vomiting and diarrhea. The true influenza is quite different. This is the one you get the flu vaccine for.

Cold vs influenza: What's the difference?
Although people tend to lump "colds" and influenza (commonly called "the flu") together, they really are distinct infections, caused by different viruses. A very bad cold cannot turn into influenza (although a person with a cold could certainly come down with influenza if he or she came in contact with influenza virus).

How can you tell the difference between a cold and influenza? The following comparison points out the similarities and differences. Of course, in the case of any severe or long-lasting illness, you should contact your doctor.

Symptom / Cold / Influenza

Fever / Rare in adults and older children, but can be as high as 102°F in infants and
small children
/ Usually 102°F, but can go up to 104°F and usually lasts 3 to 4 days

Headache / Rare / Sudden onset and can be severe

Muscle aches / Mild / Usually, and often severe

Tiredness and weakness / Mild / Can last 2 or more weeks

Extreme exhaustion / Never / Sudden onset and can be severe

Runny nose / Often / Sometimes

Sneezing / Often / Sometimes

Sore throat / Often / Sometimes

Cough / Mild, hacking cough / Usually, and can become severe

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