Doctor explains: Is it a cold, or the flu?

Doctor explains: Is it a cold, or the flu?
(Source: KFVS)

CENTRALIA, IL (KFVS) - Many wonder when they are sick if they have a bad cold or the flu.

Dr. Usha Sadanala with SSM Health Medical Group said the common cold has symptoms of a wet cough, runny nose, sneezing, headaches, sore throat, and fatigue.

Meanwhile, the flu symptoms often mimic those of a cold and can include a cough, aches, chills and fatigue.

She said the biggest difference is a fever, usually higher than 100 degrees, can set in with the flu.

Flu symptoms can last a few days or up to two weeks.

"Currently, the most effective prevention against the flu is getting a flu shot annually," said Sadanala.

Studies have shown that it can reduce the chance of contracting the disease by 70 to 90 percent when flu strains in the vaccine match those circulating in the community.

To ease cold symptoms, use nasal decongestants, get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fluids.

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