It's inevitable that you'll come down with a cold or even the flu over winter. However it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, as the symptoms can be quite similar.
With flu, symptoms come on quickly and you might experience a fever or aching muscles. Much of the time it will make you too unwell to do anything.
With a cold, however, the symptoms gradually develop. A cold mainly affects the nose and throat, and you can often work through it.
Without further ado, here are some flu symptoms you should look out for.
Symptoms of flu
Sore throat: A sore throat is usually the first indicator of the beginning of illness, whether it's a cold, the flu or worse.
Temperature: Feeling feverish or having a fever of 38°C (100°F) or higher can be an indicator for the flu, although not everyone with the flu will get a fever.
Dry, chesty cough: Flu can cause an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) that affects the throat, windpipe or sinuses.
Headache and body aches: Feeling achy all over or getting a headache is another symptom of the flu and is not generally associated with getting a cold.
This tends to show as more general aches, as opposed to those confined to one area.
Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea: Nausea is the most common symptom of the flu and less likely to occur with a cold. Vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration, so it's important to try and drink lots of water throughout your illness.
Chills: Can occur as a result of many kinds of bacterial and viral illnesses including colds, the flu and H1N1 (swine flu).
Fatigue: An intense feeling of exhaustion, like not being able to get out of bed, is a sign that you have the flu. This does not usually occur with a cold.
Runny nose: Though a runny nose is most closely associated with a cold, it can also be a symptom of flu. Be sure to have plenty of tissues on hand to keep germs from spreading.
Other symptoms include: loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and sneezing.
Most people recover from flu by resting at home, however if you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have a weakened immune system or have heart disease, diabetes, asthma, lung disease or another long-term medical condition you should consult your GP.
Usually, a person should be able to recover from the flu of their own accord.
Doctors advise patients to get lots of rest, stay warm and drink plenty of water during recovery.
You can also ease symptoms by taking: paracetamol, which can help to lower fever; ibuprofen, which can help with aches and pains; cough syrup, which can help the dry, chesty cough; and decongestants, for relieving a blocked nose.
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