Both colds and flu make you feel lousy, and both of the respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Their symptoms are similar, so it can be hard to tell which has hit you initially. Pinning down which you have, though, can mean better treatment—and getting better faster.
While colds are unpleasant, they rarely last long and aren’t usually serious; the flu, however, is a different matter. (Here are six clear signs you have the flu and not a cold.) In the 2015-16 season, flu caused 11 million medical visits, 308,000 hospital visits, and 12,000 deaths. Most people will get over both a cold and the flu in less than two weeks without visiting the doctor. (Avoid the virus in the first place with these 10 tricks doctors use to avoid cold and flu.) If you’re at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu—such as anyone with heart disease or asthma—you should visit a doctor, who can give you flu antiviral drugs. Anyone else can alleviate symptoms with these 10 natural remedies for cold and flu.
Not sure which one hit you? Thankfully, there are some key differences between the viruses, from symptoms to severity to timing. Here’s how you can tell the difference between a cold and the flu.
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.comNo matter which one you have, avoid these foods that make cold and flu worse.