Published on Dec 17, 2009
The difference between a cold & the flu is often distinguished by the time it takes to feel sick
What you should know:
•Symptoms are alike and can be mistaken
•Differences depend on the time it takes to feel sick and severity of fever
•Allergies do not cause a fever
•Cold and Flu Videos, http://www.youtube.com/user/CVSPharma...
•Allergies Videos, http://www.youtube.com/user/CVSPharma...
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Hi, I'm Carmen Davailus, and I'm a MinuteClinic nurse practitioner. It's sometimes hard to tell if you have a cold, the flu, or allergies, since so many of the symptoms are alike. The difference between a cold and the flu is often best distinguished by the time it takes to start feeling sick, the severity of your fever, and the other symptoms involved.
A cold often starts slowly with a tickle in the back of your throat. You may develop a sore throat and congestion within a day or two. Your fever will probably never top 100 degrees. And the symptoms you'll most likely experience are sore throat, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, slight body aches, and fatigue.
The flu usually comes on much faster than a cold, with symptoms and a fever hitting much harder. A fever usually hits at least 101 degrees and can often spike to 104 degrees. Symptoms include chills, sweating, headache, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, dry cough, sore throat, muscle aches (mostly in the back), and extreme fatigue. While it may be hard to distinguish between a cold and flu at first, the progression of symptoms will be a good indicator. Allergies, however, differ from colds and the flu in three main ways. They are never accompanied by body aches; allergies usually cause extreme itching in your nose and eyes; and allergies rarely cause a fever.
So it should be a little easier to tell the difference between a cold, the flu, and allergies. Be sure to visit your doctor to confirm your diagnosis and discuss treatment. If you have any questions, talk to your MinuteClinic nurse practitioner or CVS pharmacist. We're here to help.
Source: CVS Caremark Health Resources