New York, NY 10065
This Month's Issue
Is it the cold or the flu?
With colder weather coming and Fall in full swing, it's also almost that time of year again! Yes, cold and flu season! There are many viruses that can cause cold symptoms. For the flu, the timing can vary but typically starts October and can go even until May, with peaks in December through February.
So how do you know if you or your child’s symptoms are the cold or the flu?
To start, the flu is typically much more severe than a common cold and your symptoms will be worse. Additionally there can be complications from the flu, unlike colds which usually resolve without serious complications.
With the flu, the symptoms include fever (usually over 101), sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and cough. You may have nasal congestion although this is more common with a cold. You just feel awful! The symptoms are more severe and can last 2-5 days, but you can feel fatigued for even weeks. The flu can also lead to complications such as pneumonia.
With colds, you typically have nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat which may develop into a mild cough after a couple days. There may or may not be fever, and if there is, it is typically low grade and mild. Usually the symptoms of a cold resolve over a few days.
Colds are contagious in the first few days, so avoid close contact (the best you can!) with anyone with a cold. Additionally, some viruses, like the flu for example can be contagious a day before there are any symptoms, or after they are feeling better. For example, children may spread the virus longer than adults, even 5-7 days out!
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By: Alison Mitzner MD
Dr. Alison Mitzner
Alison Mitzner, M.D.
Board Certified Pediatrician, Author and Mother