A Common Cold or Life-Threatening Flu? What Are the Red Flags? - 24Seven Wellness & Living

You cannot have failed to have read or heard the very disturbing news that so far this flu season there have been fatalities of 85 adults and 20 children. Unfortunately the common cold and flu share multiple symptoms that can make it nearly impossible to identify which one you’re suffering from until it is too late.

Sneezing, coughing and congestion are symptoms that occur in both illnesses, so when do you know you should seek medical assistance immediately and when do you just rest and see it out? Getting it wrong could literally mean the difference between life and death!

So we know that the shared symptoms of both the flu and a cold are sneezing, congestion, a cough and sore throat. However, the symptoms that are totally unique to the flu include are a high-grade fever, chills, body aches and nausea.
Cold symptoms usually stay in the nose, throat, ears and chest area. In fact experts state that the biggest red flag to deciphering whether it is the common cold or life-threatening flu is the early onset of a high fever.

Another thing to look for is how quickly you experience the onset of symptoms. Most people experience cold-like symptoms for a few days before reaching the peak of the illness. Influenza comes on hard and fast. It can literally be as instantaneous as, one minute you’re fine, and the next you have a headache and begin to have cold sweats.

The common cold and the flu are both upper respiratory infections that are highly contagious and transmitted by coming into close contact with an infected person. They can be passed through sneezes, coughs and touching surfaces that carry the bacteria.

While the majority of us who suffer flu symptoms cope fairly well taking care of ourselves at home, one should consider seeing a primary care clinician if you are of advanced age or suffer with a serious chronic health conditions. Young children should also be seen by your health care provider immediately they start experiencing symptoms. Be acutely aware of the differences between the two and act accordingly.

These alarming deaths as a result of something so common are to be taken seriously so if in doubt seek professional advice before it is too late!