Although flu season traditionally peaks in winter, it can start as early as October and put employees out of work for an extended period of time.
How to Tell Between the Cold and the Flu
Although the common cold and seasonal influenza share several symptoms, there are some differences that you can identify in order to seek proper treatment. It is important to be able to tell the difference between the two, as the flu can result in more serious health complications than a cold.
Typically, symptoms of the common cold come gradually and may start with a sore throat or irritated sinuses. The most common symptoms of a cold are nasal congestion, sneezing and a runny nose. Symptoms can also include a cough, mild headaches and minor body aches. There is usually no fever associated with the common cold. People are generally contagious during the first three days they have a cold. Symptoms tend to go away within a week.
Unlike the common cold, flu symptoms usually come suddenly and vigorously, often starting with a high-grade fever, a headache, body aches and fatigue. In addition, flu symptoms can include a dry cough, sore throat, and sometimes a runny or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are generally more severe than cold symptoms, but they tend to gradually improve after two to five days. However, they can sometimes last for a week or longer. You should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone in order to avoid passing the virus to others.
For the common cold, a doctor visit is usually unnecessary. Over-the-counter medications can be effective in treating symptoms. For the flu, a doctor may prescribe anti-viral drugs that will help decrease the severity and length of symptoms.
Potentially serious health complications can occur in people suffering from the flu. Call your doctor if you think your symptoms are worsening, if you have a condition such as asthma or diabetes, or if you are pregnant.
Limit Your Chances of Getting or Spreading the Flu:
By following these simple precautions, you could make it through the upcoming flu season without getting sick. However, if you do catch the flu, see a doctor to discuss treatment options.
- Get a flu shot: Health officials recommend annual flu vaccinations for everyone who is at least 6 months old. Considered the most effective way to fight the flu, vaccinations prevent people from getting sick and spreading the virus to others.
- Wash your hands: This will limit your chances of contracting or spreading the virus.
- Eat healthy foods: Foods rich in vitamins, like leafy green vegetables, strawberries, oranges and almonds can help boost your immune system.
- Stay home: If you become sick, staying home and resting will help you recover sooner. It will also prevent you from spreading the flu to others.
- Be mindful of where you cough: By coughing and sneezing into your arm instead of your hand, you can limit your chances of spreading your germs to others.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.