Health

How Do You Tell If You Have The Flu Or A Cold?

Have you been getting the chills lately? Do you think you have the flu? Or maybe it’s just a simple cold? Find out here!
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The Philippines has two seasons: wet and dry. Our wet season is from the months of June to October, while our dry season is from November to May. Since we are in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the number of typhoons in our country have always been quite high, and they are even higher from June to October.


Playing outside in the rain is all fun and games until you get sick. Your body temperature rises, and suddenly you’re just too tired to do anything. It is June once again, and rain has come upon us once more. However, with cloudier skies comes the increase of people who are sneezing and coughing. The flu and cold season is now here.

Is having the flu and a cold different?

Flus and colds are easily mistaken for one another, but even though they are very similar, they are also very different. A cold can usually make you feel under the weather for a few days, on the other hand the flu can last up to a few weeks. It can even lead you to pneumonia, which would need you to be hospitalized for days.


You experience coughs, a sore throat, and a runny nose when you either have a cold or a flu, and compared to adults, children are more common to have a fever when they have a cold. Truth be told, there are a lot of similarities between a cold and the flu. The defining trait however, is their severity. Compared to a cold, the flu is more likely to leave you bedridden, and it may even cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cases.


Cold

Symptoms

Flu

Minimal or None (>37.8°C)

Fever

High (>37.8°C)

Sometimes

Headache

Very Common

Usual

Runny Nose

Usual

Very Common

Sneezing

Sometimes

Minimal

Coughs

Very Common

Minimal

Body Pain

Very Common

Minimal

Fatigue

Very Common

Very Common

Sore Throat

Sometimes

3 to 5 days

Duration

7 to 14 days


If your flu lasts up to more than 2 weeks, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.

How do you prevent them?

Make sure to keep your surroundings clean. Both the flu and the cold are viral infections, so make sure to keep inanimate objects clean. If someone sneezes into their hands and touches any object, all the people who touch the same object afterwards would then carry the virus in their hands. Aside from this, some insects such as mosquitoes and ticks carry viruses. And these same insects usually breed in damp and unclean places. So making sure that everything is spick and span also lessens the appearance of insects and rodents.


Remember to wash your hands regularly as well. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, make sure to wash them with soap and water or alcohol to prevent the spreading of the virus. Aside from this, take your daily vitamins. However, if taking vitamin supplements aren’t for you, make sure to eat food that is rich with vitamins and nutrients. After all, a stronger immune system, which can only be achieved with a healthy diet, lessens the probability of us getting sick.

What do I do if I have the flu or a cold?

Regardless if you have the flu or a cold, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. You need to drink water to be able to flush out the toxins in your body. Similarly, when you either have the flu or a cold, you would usually have little to no appetite. Despite your lack of desire to eat food, make sure to eat at least a few bites each meal.


Not eating at all when you have a cold or flu is out of the question because your body needs nutrients to build up your immune system. So take in food that is rich in vitamins, probiotics, and prebiotics, as these nutrients will help you fight the virus within your body.


You experience coughs and a sore throats when you have colds and the flu. So to remedy this, make sure to drink warm liquids that will relieve the pain, such as tea or milk. Honey is also a great home remedy for sore throats since it is an antibacterial. At the same time, it also reduces any swelling and discomfort. Gargling saltwater is also an old-fashioned remedy that helps clear phlegm and bring relief.


Lastly, if you get the cold or flu, make sure to get some rest. Pretending you’re not sick and going about your day when you are clearly showing the signs and symptoms of either sickness will only worsen your condition. If you go out while you are sick, there is also a high chance that you will spread the virus to people around you.

Colds

For colds, although it is minor, it can also make you feel miserable for a few days. Make sure to keep the air humid to help loosen congestion. Over-the-counter (OTC) saline nasal drops also help in relieving stuffiness and congestion. Remember that antibiotics will not be any help when you have the cold. Since antibiotics help fight bacteria, this will do nothing for virus-caused diseases.

Flu

For the flu, although it is noticeably more severe than colds, most people sick with the flu do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you do get sick with it however, just remember to get some rest and avoid contact with other people to prevent the spreading of the virus. Remember that antibiotics will be of no help for the flu as well.

General Reminder

As a general reminder, OTC medicine is not advisable for everyone. For adults, you can take pain relievers, cough suppressants, or decongestants if home remedies are not working for you. For children at the age of five years old and below, you have to be more careful with the OTC medicines that you give them. Make sure that they don’t take in codeine since this may lead to breathing difficulties for your child in the future.


However, if none of these are effective in treating your cold or flu, and breathing has become a difficulty for you, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Since this could mean that your cold was actually a flu, which has developed into pneumonia.

Who should I approach if I get sick?

A pediatrician is someone who is specifically trained to care for kids and teens. For parents, make sure to set an appointment and go to the nearest pediatrician in your area to avoid any complications. For those who are older, make sure to visit your family physician. For those who do not have a family physician, a general physician will also be able to write you a prescription and help you with the next step.


Luckily, booking appointments with such doctors is now made easier by SeeYouDoc. SeeYouDoc is an online platform where you can book appointments online with different kinds of doctors, located across Luzon. SeeYouDoc does not only give you a list of names of the doctors around particular areas, it also gives you the address of their clinics or hospitals, as well as their contact details and their available times. From pediatricians to family and general physicians, SeeYouDoc has got your health, and convenience covered.


Source/s: CDC, FDA

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