The United States is in the grip of a particularly nasty flu season. Health officials are urging people with flu symptoms to see a doctor immediately if they suspect they have the flu.
However, most people don’t know the difference between a cold and the flu. Below are Cold vs. Flu Symptoms, Cold & Flu Prevention Tips, and Flu Myths.
COLD VS. FLU SYMPTOMS
U.S. HealthWorks offers this handy chart below to determine if you have a cold or the flu.
|Aches||Slight||Usual, often severe|
|Tiredness||Mild||Moderate to severe|
|Sudden Symptoms||Symptoms appear gradually||Symptoms can appear within 3-6 hours|
|Coughing||Hacking, productive cough||Dry, unproductive cough|
|Chest Discomfort||Mild to moderate||Often severe|
COLD & FLU PREVENTION TIPS
Along with GETTING a flu shot, the following tips will help keep you healthy this flu season:
- Wash hands: Do it thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Washing hands often will help protect from flu germs.
- Control stress level: Prolonged stress levels can affect your immune system. To manage stress, find balance between work, exercise, and personal time.
- Get lots of rest: Make sure you are rested. Sleep deprivation may slow ability to stay alert and make you vulnerable to the flu and other viruses.
- Cover your mouth, nose: When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue to help prevent passing the germs to those around you.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth: You can infect yourself by unknowingly touching something with flu germs and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Avoid direct contact with sick people: Besides avoiding sick people, keep your distance from others if you are sick.
- Flu vaccine can give me the flu: False. However, it does take 10-14 days for the vaccine to provide protection against influenza
- Pregnant women shouldn’t get flu shot: False. Getting immunized during pregnancy protects women and infants for the first six months of life when they can’t be vaccinated.
- Young, healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated: False. Young people can generally fend off the flu better than younger children and senior citizens, but they are still at risk.
- If I haven’t gotten vaccinated by Christmas, there’s no point. False. While it’s better to get the vaccination before the flu season peaks, that doesn’t mean it’s not too late even in January.
- Catching a chill by sitting near drafty window or going out in cold weather will make me get the flu. Mostly false. Getting severely chilled to the point of hypothermia can make the immune system less resilient, which may make someone more susceptible to flu. But you still have to come into contact with the flu to get the flu.