Dr. Daliah: How do you know if you have the flu or if its “just a cold”. With the flu season about to start I want to be prepared. Barbara
Hi Barbara. Excellent question. Flu (influenza) and cold symptoms can be very similar, in that the patient may have cough, sneeze, sore throat, fever and even gastrointestinal symptoms. Influenza, however, usually comes on more abruptly and with a high fever, whereas with a cold the symptoms may be more gradual. In addition, many times the flu is accompanied by headache, body aches and exhaustion.
What I recommend is: when in doubt…check it out. Your medical provider can even run a blood test or rapid flu test if available to be certain if its influenza. Whether you have the flu or a cold, make sure you stay hydrated. And if possible, get vaccinated against the flu each year, especially if you are considered a high-risk candidate such as children, seniors, patients with asthma, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, etc.
Interestingly enough, they have found that people who eat yogurt are less inclined to contract the flu. Recommendations have also been made to use good hand-washing, avoid co workers who appear to be coughing or sneezing, change your bedding and pillow cases frequently, take steam showers to help ward off bacteria, and eat a regular balanced diet. Yep, can’t get around eating your fruits and vegetables….they help with everything!!!!
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician