Cold Vs Flu:

how to tell which one you have

We’ve all had a common cold: from that first little sniffle to the third box of tissues you’ve opened, they’re usually more of a hindrance than a medical danger. But what if you’re feeling really awful –could it be the flu? Whether you’re suffering symptoms, or a family member is, knowing the difference between cold and flu viruses is crucial in knowing how to beat them. From key differences to how to treat symptoms, our guide is here to help you answer the age-old dilemma of cold vs flu once and for all.

It’s important to note that many of these symptoms are also caused by the COVID-19 virus. If you have any of the symptoms of cold or flu, you should contact the HSE and get tested for Coronavirus. You should also self-isolate until you have a negative result.

Is the treatment for a cold and the flu the same?

There is some overlap in how to treat a cold or a flu. Advice like getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and using over the counter medications to manage symptoms work for both the common cold and the flu virus. The flu may need additional treatment for specific symptoms such as fever and vomiting, and needs extra monitoring of symptoms as it could prove much more serious for at-risk patients.

What is a cold or a flu?

Both the common cold and the flu are classed as respiratory illnesses, meaning they affect the lungs and other parts of your respiratory system. Both colds and the flu are caused by a viral infection, but they come from different viruses.

How do you catch a cold or flu?

Both viruses are caught the same way: by coming into contact with virus particles and ingesting them. This could be direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces and objects they’ve recently touched. You might also catch a cold or flu virus from inhaling viral particles in the air, for example if an infected person has recently coughed or sneezed near you.

Cold vs flu: how do treatments differ?

In both cases, antibiotics are not necessary to treat symptoms as the common cold and flu are both caused by viruses, as opposed to bacteria. Colds can be treated with over the counter medication such as paracetamol and decongestants. You can take a cough medicine specifically aimed at dry or chesty coughs if you have one. The flu can be treated with over the counter pain relief like paracetamol and NSAIDS, cough medicine and decongestants. Both viruses can also be treated with a specific cold and flu medicine containing a combination of ingredients designed to manage aches, pains, fever and congestion.

If you have flu symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who does, you should avoid close contact with elderly or vulnerable people and do not go to work until you are better. If you’re suffering cold or flu symptoms, make sure you get plenty of rest, fluids, and stock up on medicines that can help. Don’t forget, our pharmacists are always happy to advise on the best choices for you or your family. Please don’t call into any of our stores if you have any flu like symptoms, however you can safely shop online or chat to the pharmacist on our website; with next day delivery

MCGORISK PHARMACIES ARE LOCATED AT: Unit 53, Athlone Towncentre, 090 6484384 | John Broderick Street, Athlone, 090 6472272 | Clonbrusk Primary Care Centre, 090 6470001 The Crescent, Athlone, 090 6474559 | McGorisks Pharmacy, 30 Society Street, Ballinasloe, 090 9642161 | Rosmed Pharmacy, Golf Links Road, Roscommon, 090 6627007

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