Achiness. Fatigue. Sore throat. Chills. Is it a cold or the flu? It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference.Cold versus flu

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough are more common and intense. The flu will also typically come on suddenly.

Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations - which can happen with the flu.

Here's a quick chart to help you decipher symptoms of each:

And of course, it's always better to prevent the flu. If you haven't gotten a flu shot yet, make a point to get one now. Flu season typically peaks in January and February here in Wisconsin.

Also, don't forget to wash your hands. Hand washing is one of the single most effective ways to fight off colds and flu.■

Bridgett Moss, DO, is a family and osteopathic medicine physician with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group.


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