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Cold or Flu? How to Tell the Difference

By Genevieve Cunningham

It’s definitely that time of year. It’s the time when cold and the flu are running rampant. Every cough and every sneeze makes us cringe just a little and hope that we didn’t just catch something awful. While we like to think that we can make it through the season completely healthy, it’s almost impossible to miss out on every illness at this time of year. But how do you know when it’s just a cold or when it’s the flu? If you’re having a hard time distinguishing the difference, take a look at how you can determine which you’re suffering from and when it’s time to see a doctor.

The Similarities

At first blush, you may think that it’s impossible to not know the difference, but many are surprised at just how similar these illnesses really are. Both the cold and the flu often start out with sinus issues. A stuffy nose, sore throat, and headache are par for the course. With both illnesses, you may also experience some coughing, sneezing, and an increase in temperature. And almost any time you’re sick, you’ll also feel incredibly tired and rundown. Especially in the beginning stages, these two illnesses can mimic each other so closely that it’s tough to tell the difference.

The Differences

Even though there are some distinct similarities, there are plenty of differences between the two illnesses as well. When you have a cold, the symptoms usually stop at the things mentioned above. The sinus issues and rundown feeling and perhaps a low temperature are about the extent. But with the flu, it’s just the beginning. The flu often brings about higher temperatures, body aches, the chills, and incredibly excessive fatigue. The body will hurt so bad, you’ll be down in the bed and you won’t want to get up for anything. If your symptoms seem to be moving in this direction, you may begin to suspect the flu.

When to See a Doctor

So when should you suck it up and see a doctor? The truth is that you should see a doctor any time that you feel it’s necessary. Doctors are there to help keep you well. If you see a doctor and it’s only a minor cold, there’s really no harm no foul. But if you’re looking for a specific sign, most doctors say to be on the lookout for a fever over 101, body aches, and chills. These seem to be among the first signs that the flu has taken hold of your body. And with the flu, the sooner you get to the doctor, the shorter the duration of suffering, and the sooner you’ll be well.

With the cooler breezes blowing in, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for illness. And since the cold and flu are the most common at this time of year, it’s a great idea to know the signs and symptoms. Be aware of your body and any changes happening. If you have any questions or concerns, get to the doctor for some relief and a plan to keep you healthy.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Carrollton, Tex.

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