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Is it a Cold or the Flu?


Flu season is approaching – could your cough be due to the flu or a cold? Sometimes it is difficult to tell – and since both can exacerbate COPD – it is important to be able to distinguish the differences.

According to WebMD, colds “usually begin abruptly with a sore throat followed by symptoms such as clear, watery nasal drainage; sneezing; fatigue; and sometimes a low-grade fever.”

“A mild cough is a common cold symptom. The cough won’t get much worse, but this common cold symptom is likely to last into the second week of your cold. If you suffer with asthma or other lung problem, a cold may make it worse. If you are coughing up dark mucus — or if you are feeling a lot of distress in the lower parts of your lungs — you may have a bacterial infection. It’s a good idea to touch base with your doctor to find out if you need to be seen. Usually, there is no fever with common cold symptoms. In fact, fever and more severe symptoms may indicate that you have the flu and not a cold.”

With the flu, people might feel very weak and fatigued for up to two or three weeks.

“You’ll have muscle aches and periods of chills and sweats as fever comes and goes. You may also have a stuffy or runny nose, headache, and sore throat,” WebMD.

WebMD also lays out the differences between having a cold and the flu.

The American Lung Association also has a flu vaccine finder to make it easier to find flu shots in your area.

To avoid the flu and colds, doctors recommend eating healthy foods to strengthen your immune system. These include more vegetables and fruits, adding garlic to your meals, drinking fruit juices, yogurt, warm liquid as well as minimizing candy and fast food.

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