Cold vs Flu Symptoms – A Handy Chart Comparison

cold vs flu

coldvsflu2Cold and flu season can really take a toll on families with young children. If one kid gets sick then you’re 99% guaranteed the other kid will follow within a day or two. It’s brutal!! And when you’re trying to keep track of two sick kiddos and their symptoms it can get really confusing to determine who just has a cold and who could be suffering from a more serious flu.

USHealthWorks provided Twiniversity with a side-by-side comparison of cold and flu symptoms to help you determine the severity of your child’s (or your own!) illness. Below you’ll find handy prevention tips and some myths on the flu.

Cold vs. Flu Comparison Chart

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usually Present
Aches Slight Usual, Often Severe
Chills Uncommon Fairly Common
Tiredness Mild Moderate to Severe
Sudden Symptoms Symptoms appear gradually Symptoms can appear within 3-6 hours
Coughing Hacking, productive cough Dry, unproductive cough
Sneezing Common Uncommon
Stuffy Nose Common Uncommon
Sore throat Common Uncommon
Chest Discomfort Mild to moderate Often severe
Headache Uncommon Common

coldvsflu3Cold & Flu Prevention Tips

  • Wash hands: Do it thoroughly with soap and warm water. Washing hands often will help protect from flu germs.
  • Control stress level: Prolonged stress levels can affect your immune system. To manage stress, find balance between work, exercise, and personal time.
  • Get lots of rest: Make sure you are rested. Sleep deprivation may slow ability to stay alert and make you vulnerable to the flu and other viruses.
  • Cover your mouth, nose: When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue to help prevent passing the germs to those around you.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth: You can infect yourself by unknowingly touching something with flu germs and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid direct contact with sick people: Besides avoiding sick people, keep your distance from others if you are sick.

Little girl blows her noseFlu Myths

  • Flu vaccine can give me the flu: False. However, it does take 10-14 days for the vaccine to provide protection against influenza
  • Pregnant women shouldn’t get flu shot: False. Getting immunized during pregnancy protects women and infants for the first six months of life when they can’t be vaccinated.
  • Young, healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated: False. Young people can generally fend off the flu better than younger children and senior citizens, but they are still at risk.
  • If I haven’t gotten vaccinated by Christmas, there’s no point. False. While it’s better to get the vaccination before the flu season peaks, that doesn’t mean it’s not too late even in January.
  • Catching a chill by sitting near drafty window or going out in cold weather will make me get the flu. Mostly false. Getting severely chilled to the point of hypothermia can make the immune system less resilient, which may make someone more susceptible to flu. But you still have to come into contact with the flu to get the flu.

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