Cold or Flu?

How to tell the difference between sniffles, sneezing and a severe virus

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Sneezing, coughing, fever and chills are all part of cold and flu season.
 
So when you're feeling stuffed up and all out miserable, it can be tough to tell whether you're dealing with a common cold or worse, the flu.
 
"We definitely at this time of year start to see more people are getting sick from the cold and flu," said Rachel Lynch of Inova Health Souorce. "There are some major differences."
 
The flu can start out feeling like a cold, but then it's typically followed by fever, fatigue, aches and pains. A cold, on the other hand, comes with a runny nose, coughing, sneezing and usually doesn't last that long.
 
"With the flu you're going to just feel more all over aches and pains and kind of an inability to go on," Lynch said. "The flu is going to knock you in bed for a few days. You're not going to be able to just pull out a tissue and muddle through for a few days like with a cold."
 
Lynch strongly recommends getting a flu shot. They're still available and the vaccine can prevent what can be a serious, long-lasting illness. Good hygiene is important, too. Wash hands frequently. It's the best way to avoid catching somebody else's germs and to prevent spreading germs to others.
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