Signs that You May Have a Cold or Flu
It can be tricky to tell whether you have a cold, flu, or allergies. Since adults can develop allergies at any time during their lives, they could easily mistake their symptoms for a cold or flu. Allergies are not contagious, but the cold and flu are, so it is important to learn how to tell if you have a cold or flu and should stay away from others or go to the doctor. Here are some of the most common signs to look for if you suspect that you may be developing a cold or flu.
If you develop a fever, you may have the flu and you should stay away from others in order to prevent the spreading of your germs. A fever is also possible with the common cold but less likely. In adults, a fever is any temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in children a fever is any temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to call your doctor if your temperature reaches 103 degrees, or if it lasts longer than 7 days. It is also important to seek medical attention immediately if any of the following symptoms accompany your fever:
Blood in stool
Excessive sleepiness or confusion
Severe abdominal pain
If your fever goes away and then returns again a few days later, you may have pneumonia and should be checked by a doctor.
Runny or Stuffy Nose
One of the most noticeable and common signs of a cold or flu is the development of a runny or stuffy nose. In most colds, this symptom lasts for a few days to a week and is typically not serious. With the flu, congestion can last for more than a week. Saline rinses, decongestants, and nasal sprays can help to alleviate symptoms.
The common flu often causes body aches that can be quite uncomfortable. If you experience body aches in conjunction with congestion or fever, then you likely have the flu. Some over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and Tylenol can help to alleviate muscle aches and soreness due to the cold and flu.
A sore throat is often one of the first signs of a developing cold or flu, and can be either scratchy or raw. If you have a cold, your sore throat will likely fade away within a day or two. If you have a flu, your sore throat may last longer and may cause more severe pain.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
In some cases, the flu can cause diarrhea and vomiting in addition to the more typical symptoms such as sore throat and congestion. Swine flu is known for causing diarrhea and vomiting. If symptoms are severe they can lead to dehydration and could be dangerous. It is important to try to keep hydrated and to seek medical treatment if dehydration occurs.
According to the article “Important Information for Cold and Flu Season”, individuals who want to avoid developing the cold or flu should try to keep hydrated by drinking 8 glasses of water per day, use a humidifier at night, avoid drinking alcohol, and keep their mouth moist in order to fight off germs.