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Sharp Health News

Is it a cold or the flu? (infographic)

Dec. 4, 2015

Coughing, headache and fatigue: these common symptoms may indicate the common cold, or a more serious case of influenza. Although they have some of the same warning signs, cold and flu should be treated differently. Dr. Rachel Klein of Sharp Rees-Stealy has some words of wisdom for you if you're wondering whether to call the doctor.

Is it a cold or the flu? (infographic). A cold is relatively harmless, but the flu can lead to more serious complications. Learn the signs and symptoms of both so you know when to seek appropriate treatment. Symptoms of a cold include the following: Low or no fever (Children can have high fevers – up to 103F – with certain non-flu viruses that cause a cold. For any fever in a newborn less than three months of age, contact your doctor immediately.) Sometimes a headache. Stuffy, runny nose. Sneezing. Mild, hacking cough. Slight aches and pains. Sore throat. Normal energy level. Symptoms of the flu include the following: Fever of 101F or higher. Always a headache. Clear nose. Sometimes sneezing. Often severe cough. Severe aches and pains. Sometimes a sore throat. Extreme exhaustion. It’s important to know when to call the doctor. Call the doctor if an adult exhibits any of the following: Confusion. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Improvement, but then a return of symptoms with fever and worse cough. Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen. Sudden dizziness. Severe or persistent vomiting. Call the doctor if a child exhibits any of the following: A fever higher than 104F in children under three months of age. Irritability, not wanting to be held. Bluish or gray skin color. Fast breathing or trouble breathing. Improvement, but then a return of symptoms with fever and worse cough. Not drinking enough fluids. Not waking up or not interacting. Severe or persistent vomiting. “While colds may be a nuisance, they generally do not cause significant problems in healthy people,” says Dr. Rachel Klein, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Sharp Rees-Stealy. “The flu can cause much more severe consequences even if you’re healthy, so stay protected and get your flu shot.”

View the printable version of this infographic.

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