Is it a Cold or Flu? How to Tell

Many people have trouble being able to tell if they have a cold or the flu. There are a great deal of people who insist each year on getting antibiotics to treat their cold or flu, increasing their chance of building up super resistant strains that can not be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are a bad idea, not only for building up resistances, but they are always completely useless for a cold or the flu as they are viral not bacterial. Colds and Flu are viral respiratory tract infections that will not go away with antibiotics and to this day no complete cure has been found. Many doctors will treat the symptoms with anti-inflammatory agents, fever reducers, and antihistamines. Here’s how to see if you have a temporary 3-5 day cold, or a 1-2 week flu bug.

Both a cold and flu will have these symptoms: runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough.

A cold will have these symptoms too:
– congestion,
– mild fatigue,
– no fever

The flu will have these symptoms:
– headache
– fever
– chills,
– fatigue
– weakness
– achy muscles.

There are three different types of flu viruses. Type A is the most common and the cause of most viral epidemics. Type B is a bit milder than A and can cause epidemics although unlikely. Type C is never connected with any epidemics. The “stomach flu” is not a flu at all, it’s a form of bacteria or virus connected to food poisoning. The flu is much more serious than the common cold; the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that in the United States more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.

A typical adult person will get 2-4 colds a year and may get one flu outbreak. A child can get up to 6-10 colds a year, due to playgrounds, day care, and school related functions. The more a child interacts with other children the more his chances of getting another cold are. Hand washing and disposable Kleenex are the best fighters to keeping the cold and allergy bugs at bay.

You will need to seek medical help for your respiratory troubles if you ever have difficulty breathing, feel faint or lightheaded, have green or yellow mucous laden coughs, have facial pains or pressure, or if you aren’t any better in 10 days. Your doctor can go over your symptoms at that point.

For more information, the following websites have vital information for the consumer:
www.webmd.com
http://www.fda.gov/
http://www.lungusa.org/

http://www.commoncold.org/
Flu factsheet at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

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