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The Common Cold Versus a Virus

March 18, 2024

The Common Cold Versus a Virus

When you suddenly wake up coughing, sneezing, and with an achy feeling that makes it painful for you to move a muscle, how do you know whether it's the common cold or the flu?

It is really important that you know the difference between flu and common cold symptoms. Though both cold and flu are viral infections, and they affect your respiratory system, but the flu is typically worse than a common cold. Furthermore, people commonly tend to get cold more than once a year, whereas most people get the flu a very few times every 10 years. 

As both diseases have similar symptoms, it is really difficult to tell the difference between them based only on the symptoms. The common cold generally doesn't result in serious health issues, while the flu can lead to associated complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, etc. 

The Flu And Common Cold Symptoms

Common cold symptoms include the following:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Muscle aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild symptoms
  • Fever up to 102-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Green or yellow nasal discharge
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Symptoms usually start mild before worsening

Flu symptoms include the following:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills and sweat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • The sudden appearance of symptoms
  • Fever over 102-degree Fahrenheit
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Poor appetite
  • Intense symptoms

A particular type of flu that is considered highly serious is called H1N1 flu, or the swine flu. It infects a human's respiratory system, and the symptoms are similar to the flu. 

Flu and Common Cold Treatment

There is no particular treatment for the flu or common cold as antibiotics don't work against viruses. The illness will subside after it runs its course, and the only thing you could do is ease your symptoms. 

Consuming products such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can ease low fever and mild aches. On the other hand, antiviral medicine prescribed by a doctor for flu can also help shorten the length of time you remain sick. Get as much as sleep as you can and drink plenty of water. Also, try to stay home to prevent germs from spreading to others. 

How Long Does The Common Cold Last?

Typically, common cold symptoms last for around a week. You will be contagious during the first three days when you are suffering from the disease, which means you can pass the cold to others. This is the time to stay home and get much-needed rest. 

In case you find the common cold symptoms not improving even after a week, the chances are you might have a bacterial infection. This means you may require antibiotics. Nevertheless, check with your doctor to see if you have developed sinusitis or an allergy. 

BASS: For Care In Walnut Creek And Pleasant Hill

If you are in need of care for a cold, reach out to us.

We have available access to a wide array of medical services alongside an accurate diagnosis. We get to the root of the problem faster, leveraging our lab technology and on-site state-of-the-art diagnostic. 

Furthermore, if you have a non-emergency illness that you can’t wait to get an appointment for, use our BASS Primary Care to receive quick treatment and care from experts. 

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.