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Is It the Flu or a Cold?

Winter is right around the corner, which means more and more people are going to be coming down with a cough. Dealing with a cough and a stuffy nose can be quite aggravating, especially if your symptoms begin to worsen. But are you suffering from the common cold or have you caught the flu? It can be difficult to tell the two apart sometimes, especially in the beginning stages.

The Common Cold

If you have a cold, the first symptom you’ll typically have is a sore throat, which usually only lasts for a day or two. Following the sore throat, you’ll experience nasal symptoms, such as congestion or a runny nose. This is usually accompanied by a cough during the fourth and fifth days of your cold. Expect your mucus to take on a darker and thicker appearance. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold, and it is very contagious in the first three days; however, it should go away within a week.

The Flu

Symptoms of the flu are similar to those of a cold, but they come on much more quickly. They include sore throats, coughs and congestion. However, unlike the common cold, the flu will typically also cause symptoms such as a fever, headaches, muscles aches and muscle soreness. Once you develop these symptoms, it’s a good indication that you have the flu. More severe versions of the flu virus can also result in diarrhea and vomiting. Some of the lesser symptoms, such as the cough and sore throat, will usually improve within two to five days. However, if you started off with a fever, it can return after a few days if you have the flu. The flu will also cause you to feel fatigue and weakness, and sometimes even extreme exhaustion, which never occurs with a cold.

Although the common cold and the flu share a number of symptoms, you can usually identify the flu by a fever and exhaustion. We advise you to get your flu shot soon and to contact The Benefits Store for professional service for all California Medical Plans.


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