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Cold or flu? This useful CDC symptoms test may help you tell the difference

Cold or flu? This useful CDC symptoms test may help you tell the difference
[Photo: Kelly Sikkema /Unsplash]

We reported last week about how the 2018 flu season is shaping up to be the worst on record since the CDC began keeping track in the early 2000s. The latest update from the health agency suggests things might get worse before they get better. Every state except Hawaii is continuing to report widespread flu activity, the CDC says, and the number of states reporting high activity jumped from 26 to 32 states. New York City and Puerto Rico are also on that list.

[Image via CDC]

Meanwhile, the CDC has an infographic that charts the symptomatic variances between the common cold and influenza, and the difference is more subtle than you might think. For instance, while sore throats, stuffy noses, and sneezing can be present in both viruses, they’re more common in colds than flus. Conversely, headaches, chills, and chest discomfort are more common in the flu.

One telltale sign that you have the flu is the onset of symptoms, which come on abruptly in flu viruses as opposed to gradually with colds. In the end, colds and flus are both respiratory illnesses, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone, the CDC says. Often, a lab test can tell you for sure.

Here’s more info from the CDC. Stay safe out there.


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