Is it a bad cold or a case of the flu?

WAAY 31 spoke with a local doctor to find out how you can tell the difference

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 6:46 PM

It's flu season, but that doesn't mean the flu is the only virus infecting people nationwide.

Dr. Nancy White told WAAY 31 that cold and flu symptoms are similar.

"Cold, usually you'll get a runny nose, maybe some sneezing some coughing," Dr. White said.

She said flu symptoms are similar, but they are usually more severe.

"The difference is with the flu your symptoms come on really suddenly," Dr. White said.

She said flu symptoms can develop within hours.

"One minute you're fine, the next you start to have these chills. You start to feel very fatigued, and typically you'll have a headache."

Dr. White told WAAY 31 that when you walk into the patient room, no matter what you think you may have, you should go ahead and use a mask and hand sanitizer just to be safe.

"If you have to cough, it's better to keep your face covered with a mask or cough into your elbow so we don't get those germs and viruses spread out there," Dr. White said.

She said that whether you have a mild cold or a serious case of the flu both are spread the same way.

"Cold and flu spread the same, either through the air with coughing or talking, or by touching things after you've touched your face."

With the flu spreading like wildfire this season, Dr. White told WAAY 31 that if you don't have it you shouldn't risk going to the doctor.

"If it's just a cold, if you're getting clear drainage, not having a fever, not feeling that bad, it would probably be better to stay home."

Dr. White said that the best thing you can do with a cold is treat it with over the counter medication, and if you suddenly feel worse you should get to the doctor as soon as possible.

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