Flu, which is also called Influenza, and the common cold are almost similar. It is sometimes pretty tough for people to decide or differentiate between both of them. Both these health issues are related to respiration. They also have similar symptoms and that is one of the reasons why it is tough to differentiate between them. One that you should know here is they both can easily spread from one person to another as they are contagious. Both flu and cold are caused due to viruses and they cannot be treated with the help of antibiotics.
Symptoms of flu and the common cold:
If we wish to understand the difference between cold and flu, then it is very important for us to first understand the symptoms of each of them. This will help in getting the right treatment for the problem.
As already discussed, these two share a lot of common symptoms, which include:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
These are the symptoms of flu and cold. But apart from these, you will also see that a person suffering from flu will have a fever. Also, the symptoms of a person affected with flu are going to be severe when compared to a person with a cold. Chills are another common symptom seen in people suffering from the flu.
How are they diagnosed?
If it is the common cold, then it does not require any kind of test to diagnose it. Based on the symptoms your doctor will understand that it is just a common cold. But sometimes, if the symptoms are severe, you may be asked to take a few tests like an X-ray to rule out other major issues.
When it comes to flu, it has to be diagnosed with the help of tests only. You will be asked to get the rapid influenza diagnostic test done. This test includes collecting a swab from your throat and nose. It helps in detecting the viral antigens present in the body. It will take around 15 minutes for test results. But these test results will not give accurate information in case you have severe flu. So, your doctor might recommend you a few more tests to diagnose it.
When it comes to treating colds and flu, there is no cure available for them. The symptoms will fade with time. But there are a few medicines that help in easing the symptoms of flu and cold, which can cause a lot of inconveniences. Especially patients with heart-related and asthma problems may need these medicines to reduce the risk factors. You can take over-the-counter medication for body pains and headaches.
How long do they last?
Depending on the virus that has caused flu or cold, it starts fading off. The strength of your immune system is also important. If your immune system is strong, then you can get relief faster. The common cold symptoms will last for one week, but flu can last longer than that. So, take some precautions to avoid flu as that can be very irritating if lasts for longer.