Cold or Flu? How can you tell?

Cold or Flu

The CDC has issued an alert that 2013 is shaping up to be one of the worst flu seasons in over a decade. Not sure if you’re coming down with a cold, the flu or just one of those nasty 24-hour bugs that leaves you feeling nauseated and unable to get out bed?

There are few quick ways to help you tell the difference between a bug, cold or actual influenza.

The 24-bug isn’t the flu at all. If you’re stuck over the toilet, you probably have viral gastroenteritis — an infection caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea. Even though it’s commonly called the “stomach flu,” it has nothing to do with any strains of influenza. The best thing do to with a 24-bug is rest, drink a lot of fluids, and let it pass.

A cold or flu are tricky to tell apart, but they are caused by different viruses. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

This is a quick chart that helps you tell the difference between cold and flu symptoms:

General aches, painsSlightUsually
Fatigue, weaknessSometimesUsually
Stuffy noseUsuallySometimes
Sore throatUsuallySometimes
Chest discomfort, coughSometimes a hacking coughUsually, can be severe
the difference between cold and flu symptoms

If you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers. sells a full line of discount over-the-counter cold medication.

If you have the flu, you might need antiviral medication like Tamiflu. Tamiflu is best used within the first day or two of flu symptoms, so visit your personal doctor or a walk-in-clinic for this to be dispensed.