For most of us, winter brings a typical litany of coughs, aches and sniffles. When you’re not feeling well, it’s natural to imagine a worst-case scenario (raise your hand if you’ve ever worried you had a brain tumor). Learn the difference difference between a few common conditions with similar symptoms.
Between opening credits and the final scene of the latest blockbuster, you developed a sore throat, a fever and chills. You’re not sure whether you finally caught the cold that the kids brought home from school or are beginning a fling with the flu.
Q: Is it a cold or the flu?
A: The flu
Although cold and flu viruses both share similar symptoms—including sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches—cold symptoms tend to build over time. You may have nasal congestion or a runny nose for a few days before a cough or a fever develops. The flu has a sudden onset. You can go from feeling fine one minute to feeling terrible the next. If you have the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications like Tamiflu to provide symptom relief.
You escape winter weather with a trip to Hawaii, but miss the opening-night luau with a 102 degree fever, coughing and aches all over.
Q: Is it the flu or pneumonia?
A: The flu
Like the common flu, pneumonia is often accompanied by fever and coughing. But with the flu, body aches predominate. With pneumonia, sufferers might get sudden onset of chills and sweat so sudden they can’t control it, and they may have asymmetrical pain in the chest in the right or left lung.
Don’t let the flu happen to you. To make an appointment for your flu vaccine, call your primary care provider. Don’t have one? Call our free provider referral service at (843) 522-5585.