Cold or flu? 9 ways to tell them apart

As soon as you feel the first symptoms, uncommon fatigue or a sore throat, you wonder, is it a cold or the flu? Either one will affect us, but it’s important to know the difference to get the proper treatment. It’s a good thing there are surefire ways to tell them apart.

Cold or flu? 9 ways to tell them apart

1

Season

Colds are more frequent from fall to the end of spring, while the flu tends to hit in winter, especially from December to March or April.

2

Fever

It is very rare to experience fever with a cold. So, if you present a fever of 100.4–104°F or 38–40°C for three to four days, you’re probably suffering from the flu.

Vaccination is your best protection against the flu and its complications - Catherine Plamondon, Brunet's affiliated pharmacist-owner, Hemmingford and Lacolle branches.

3

Body aches

You can feel a little achy with a cold, but when your muscles feel stiff and painful, it’s probably the flu. These muscle aches will go away after three or four days.

4

Fatigue

A cold may make you feel a little more tired than usual, but the flu will present with intense and persistent fatigue for up to two or three weeks!

5

Stuffy and runny nose

If you’re feeling congested and your nose is constantly runny, you probably have a cold, as these symptoms are rather rare with the flu

6

Sneezing

Very common with a cold, sneezing is not usually a symptom of the flu.

7

Sore throat

Sore throats are more often associated with cold symptoms and are rarely associated with the flu.

8

Headaches

The congestion that comes with a cold can cause rare minor headaches. On the other hand, headaches are basically a given with the flu and can be very intense.

9

Cough

We may have a light to moderate cough with a cold. However, a flu will be associated with moderate to severe cough.

10

Did you know?

Whether you’re suffering from a cold or the flu, your pharmacist affiliated with Brunet is your best ally and can :

  • recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms adapted to your health condition;
  • help you evaluate the gravity of the situation and direct you to the appropriate health care professional if necessary.

Your Brunet-affiliated pharmacy can offer vaccination by a nurse against the flu, under certain conditions. Make an appointment and get vaccinated at a participating Brunet-affiliated pharmacy at a time that suits you.

11

When should you consult a doctor?

Most people won’t need to consult a doctor for a cold or even the flu. However, those who are more vulnerable (older people, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, babies, etc.) must monitor their symptoms carefully and consult a doctor if need be.

Also, you should consult a doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Fever that is increasing or persistent for the past 3 days;
  • Worsening or non-improving symptoms that have been present for more than 7 days;
  • Difficulty breathing that is worsening or not improving;
  • Blue lips;
  • Vomiting for more than 4 hours;
  • Intense chest or head pains;
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Confusion or convulsions;
  • Absence of urine for more than 12 hours;
  • A fever higher than 39°C (102.2°F) in a child;
  • Fever in a baby younger than 6 months old;

Consult your pharmacist for more information. He will be able to orient you toward the proper resource.

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Cold or flu? 9 ways to tell them apart

As soon as you feel the first symptoms, uncommon fatigue or a sore throat, you wonder, is it a cold or the flu? Either one will affect us, but it’s important to know the difference to get the proper treatment. It’s a good thing there are surefire ways to tell them apart.
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