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Do I Have the Flu?

Do I have the flu or is it common cold? Most people fail to answer this question on their own. The symptoms of both flu and cold are quite similar. That makes people ask, "How do I know if I have the flu?" You have to understand that the influenza virus causes the flu, whereas a cold is only a respiratory infection. Still, both are viral infections, so it is not easy to distinguish between the both. How do you know if you have the flu? One big difference is the symptoms of the flu will begin very suddenly, whereas it takes some time for symptoms to develop if you have a cold.

Do I Have the Flu?

Between 5% and 20% of the U.S. population have to deal with the flu every year, which makes more than 200,000 people visit the hospital because of flu complications. You may suffer from the flu due to the exposure to one of three types of viruses, including Influenza A, Influenza B, and Influenza C. Both Types A and B are responsible for seasonal epidemics.

The most common symptoms of the flu are headaches, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, cough, and feeling feverish – you may have a fever higher than 100°F. You won't have a high fever though if you're suffering from a common cold – your runny nose will also improve within a few days.

Differences Between Flu and Cold

The question is, "How do you know if you have the flu?" Like mentioned already, you can differentiate between the both by checking your temperature. A common cold won't usually cause a high fever. The following table will help you if you always ask, "How do I know if I have the flu?"

Symptoms

Flu

Cold

Fever

High fever (102°F)

Rarely, usually mild

General aches

Severe

Slight

Headaches

Common

Rare

Weakness

Common, up to two weeks

Sometimes

Extreme exhaustion

Common at the beginning of your illness

Never

Nasal congestion

Sometimes

Common

Sneezing

Sometimes

Often

Chest discomfort

Common and can be severe

Moderate hacking cough

Sore throat

Occasionally

Common

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