Do you know the difference between a cold and the flu? Do you know the symptoms of the swine flu?
A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu, whether it’s seasonal flu or the swine flu virus, can result in serious health problems like pneumonia and hospitalizations.
Common cold symptoms begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.
Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. The first three days of a cold are when you are contagious and can pass it on to others.
If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.
Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If your cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.
Seasonal flu and swine flu symptoms are very similar. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
Most flu symptoms improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more.
Just like cold viruses, flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of your nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you could be infecting yourself with a virus, which is why it is so important to keep your hands germ-free with frequent washing to prevent both flu and cold symptoms.
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