Difference Between A Cold And The Flu
Differentiating COVID-19 and cold is already hard enough. How about differentiating between a cold and flu? Read this article to know the differences.
|Is caused by influenza viruses.|
|Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat.||Symptoms include high fever, body aches, and fatigue.|
|Considered as less serious.||Considered more serious and might require hospitalization.|
|No long-term ill effects.|
|Vaccines are available every year and recommended to get.|
|Occurs all year, but mainly during winter.||Occurs between October and May.|
The common cold and the flu are both respiratory infections, but they are caused by different viruses. The common cold is caused by rhinoviruses, while the flu is caused by influenza viruses.
The symptoms of the common cold and the flu are also different. The common cold typically causes a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. The flu, on the other hand, typically causes a high fever, body aches, and fatigue.
The common cold is also typically less serious than the flu. Most people with the common cold will recover within a week or two. The flu, on the other hand, can be a more serious illness and can lead to hospitalization in some cases.
Cold is treated mainly symptomatically while flu needs more aggressive treatment with antiviral drugs.
Are You Coughing Frequently And Forcefully
Coughing is a symptom of a cold, the flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19. So, how can you tell whether its flu or pneumonia vs. COVID-19? Colds, flu, and pneumonia all tend to cause a productive cough with phlegm. COVID-19 causes a dry, unproductive cough. Pneumonia as a secondary infection from COVID-19 sometimes presents with rapid, shallow breathing, fast heartbeat, and dizziness.
Connection Between Influenza And Pneumonia
The flu and pneumonia can present themselves quite similarly, and studies have shown if you contract one your risk for the other increases. It is well known that during flu seasons, the rates of pneumonia are also at their peak.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that influenza raises the risk of the most common strain of pneumonia pneumococcus 100-fold. Understanding this connection can lead to more effective preventative and treatment options.
Senior author Pejman Rohani said, The results concerning the nature of the interaction between influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia were unequivocal in our study. Simply put, our analyses identified a short-lived but significantabout 100-foldincrease in the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia following influenza infection.
The researchers created a computer model of pneumococcal pneumonia transmission that analyzed various hypotheses about the potential effects of a prior influenza infection. They challenged the model with epidemiological reports and were able to rank the likelihood of each hypothesis.
The winner was the susceptibility impact hypothesis, which suggests that individuals infected with influenza are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia. This increased risk lasts for weeks after a person has been infected with influenza.
The researchers suggest the best way to reduce the risk of pneumonia is to be vaccinated for both influenza and pneumonia.
Also Check: How Often Do You Need A Pneumonia Jab
How Long Does It Last
It takes a certain amount of time to start to feel sick after getting exposed to a germ. This length of time is called the incubation period, and it depends on many things, especially which bug is causing the illness.
With influenza pneumonia, for example, someone may become sick as soon as 12 hours or as long as 3 days after exposure to the flu virus. But with walking pneumonia, a person may not feel it until 2 to 3 weeks after becoming infected.
Most types of pneumonia clear up within a week or two, although a cough can linger for several weeks more. In severe cases, it may take longer to completely recover.
Difference Between Flu And Pneumonia
Flu vs Pneumonia
With so many health scares nowadays, it is imperative that you should obtain as much information as you can. However, for many of us, there can be a lot of confusion when it comes to identifying even the most common of sickness.
Catching flu is totally different from having pneumonia. The source of each illness is often different therefore treatment is certainly dissimilar. The confusion often starts from the initial symptoms since there are lots of similarities in the warning signs of both sicknesses.
When they progress, a definite difference will become evident but it is often the point where a person feels better or become worse. In most cases, a person who feels better after a week or two, most likely, had the flu. On the other hand, the person who turned for the worse has pneumonia.
When it comes to severity, pneumonia is often the more serious illness but it should be noted that some types of flu can also be deadly. Flu is caused by the influenza virus while pneumonia, which can also be caused by a virus, is often brought about by a bacterial infection. The flu virus usually attacks the upper respiratory tract of the body such as nose, throat, and respiratory tubes.
The most important thing to remember is that when a certain illness is going on for more than a week, it is best to go to the doctor and get checked. Some would even get check-ups a few days after the onset.
Read Also: How Do People Catch Pneumonia
Common Pneumonia Symptoms And Signs Of The Pneumonia
Pneumonia shares three primary symptoms with the flu, which are:
However, even in those similarities, there are also differences. For example, with pneumonia, the fever can be as high as 105 degrees, and the cough will produce yellow or green mucus.
Additionally, common signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Wheezing and/or the feeling that you are short of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- A bluish tint to the lips and fingernails
- Sharp pains as you breathe deeply
- Mental confusion from decreased oxygen levels
Differences Between Omicron And Flu Symptoms
Though it is clinically impossible to diagnose between the Omicron variant of COVID-19 or the flu, the symptoms of Omicron appear to be milder.
- The symptoms of flu are generally severe, especially in the elderly.
- The fever in Omicron seems to be less common and hovers around 100Â°F, with a sore throat and generalized body ache as the prominent symptoms.
- In flu, headache, high fever, and runny nose may be more common.
Apart from symptoms, the management of Omicron and flu symptoms varies.
Management of Omicron virus at the hospital may include:
Don’t Miss: How Long Does It Take To Recover Pneumonia
What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.
Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery
Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.
This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.
You May Like: Signs Bronchitis Is Turning Into Pneumonia
Who Should Not Get The Flu Vaccine
Influenza vaccines given by injection should not be given to:
The live attenuated influenza vaccine , given nasally, should not be given to:
- Children under 24 months of age
- People with severe asthma
- Pregnant women
- People with a weakened immune system
IMPORTANT: Individuals with egg allergies can now receive full doses of influenza vaccines given by injection ) without a skin test. Only the live attenuated influenza vaccine , administered nasally, is contraindicated for these individuals as it has not been studied in this group.
If you have a fever or are seriously ill at the time of vaccination, ask a doctor whether or not you should wait for the vaccine.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.
The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.
Read Also: Cpt Code For Pneumonia Vaccine 13
Am I Contagious When I Have The Flu And Pneumonia
While both can be contagious, the flu is typically much more contagious, which is why your physician will recommend an annual flu shot for prevention and to mitigate the spread.
In the case of bacterial pneumonia, if you start taking antibiotics quickly, you will not be contagious after two days.
In the case of the influenza virus, some patients can infect others for up to seven days. Therefore, staying home and resting will not only help you recover from either illness, but it will also help protect others!
Influenza And Pneumonia: Table
The following table is presented by the University of Colorado showing the similarities and differences between pneumonia and influenza.
|Characteristic, high , lasting 3-4 days||Characteristic, high, rises rapidly|
|Early, prominent, can last up to 2-3 weeks||Occasionally|
|Generally a dry hacking cough||Moist cough, may produce rust-colored sputum or pus|
|Onset of symptoms||Gradual|
You May Like: What Kinds Of Pneumonia Are There
Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
How To Tell The Difference Between Covid
With both flu and COVID-19 posing a risk to our health this winter, it’s more important than ever to be able to tell the difference between these viruses. Knowing which illness you’re dealing with can help you to protect others and ensure your own recovery.
Reviewed byDr Sarah Jarvis MBE
05-Oct-21·7 mins read
Influenza and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses, each caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is a result of a coronavirus infection and flu a result of infection with influenza viruses. There are other differences between them, such as how they are spread. However, their similarities in symptoms can be confusing, so it’s important not to make a judgement on symptoms alone and to seek a professional diagnosis.
Dr Sarah Jarvis explains what to do if you think you have either COVID-19 or flu: “Regardless of which infection is to blame for your symptoms, it’s really important to stay home if you think you have either, to avoid infecting others. In addition, it’s essential to arrange a PCR COVID-19 test as soon as possible, and to self-isolate until you have the results.
“Even if your test is clear, do stay away from others until your symptoms have settled, to avoid passing on the virus. And do seek medical advice if:
You May Like: How Many Pneumonia Shots Are Required
Flu Vs Pneumonia: Only A Test Will Tell For Sure
One of the challenges with flu vs pneumonia is that we simply cannot diagnose ourselves. Most people have had this experience at least once in their lifetimes, feeling certain that it is just a little cold but then testing positive for something else at a physicians office, like strep throat.
When a sickness lingers, and we do not get the proper testing, we may also be treating the sickness with the wrong over-the-counter medication and even prolonging its course.
A physician can use a rapid flu test to determine if you have the flu or if there is a large influenza outbreak in your area she may be confident in diagnosing it based on your physical symptoms. The test is simple enough: your physician will run a cotton swab up your nostril and have results back in approximately 15 minutes.
Pneumonia, on the other hand, has a wider variety of tests. For example, if your doctor suspects the possibility of pneumonia, she may order a chest x-ray, a blood test, or a sputum test . There is also a pulse oximetry test to check the oxygen level in your blood.
Cold Flu Bronchitis And Pneumonia The Difference Explained
With the colder weather will come a range of winter illnesses the dreaded flu, cold, bronchitis and pneumonia. Are these all just a difference of degree or are they different conditions? The confusion stems from the similarity of symptoms. Although they are mostly respiratory in nature, they are very different based on whether they are caused a virus or bacteria, the organ they attack and the treatment they receive.
The common cold
Lets start with the common cold. Called so because it is the most common infectious disease in the world. It is caused by a virus and has 200 known strains. Thats why even if our body develops antibodies to one strain, we could get a cold from another. Thats the reason children get 5-10 colds a year and most adults get only 2-4. And since antibiotics dont kill viruses, no medication is recommended for the common cold, although OTC drugs could help ease some of the symptoms. Colds are very rarely seriously.
The flu is completely different from the common cold. It is caused by the Influenza A or B virus. It is accompanied by high fever and for vulnerable groups with low immunity a flu can be quite serious and in some cases life-threatening. It is usually accompanied by high temperature. Speak to your GP if youd like to know more about the flu vaccination. The government offers them free for some high-risk groups. However, the flu virus mutates very quickly and the vaccine does not provide protection against all strains.
Don’t Miss: Which Pneumonia Shot Is Given First
Common Senseand Vaccinationsare The Best Prevention Tactics
The flu is one of the viruses that can cause pneumonia, says Dr. Lovell. Heres why: All of those secretions from your stuffy nose, combined with the dehydration that often accompanies the flu, create an environment where bacteria can multiply too fast for your body to defeat, potentially leading to bacterial pneumonia, explains Dr. Scott.
For healthy people, a flu shot reduces your chances of getting the flu, says Dr. Scott. And while its still possible to get the flu even after a vaccination, the shot will lessen both symptoms and how long the flu lingers, Dr. Scott says. Vaccines can also help prevent the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Lovell.
Along with getting vaccinated, consider having a hands-off policy during this germ-heavy season, avoiding hugs and handshakes, says Dr. Scott, and wash your hands frequently . This will help you avoid getting sick. Wipe down potentially germ-covered surfaces at home and work, says Dr. Brown. And, adds Dr. Lovell: Drink lots of water and maintain good nutrition.
Who Are At Risk Of Developing Covid
Some people are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 pneumonia. It totally depends on the individual’s health conditions. Some of the other risk factors include:
Older adults or adults who are 65 years up are at an increased risk for serious illness due to COVID-19.
#Underlying Health Complications
An individual who is suffering from other health complications such as – asthma, diabetes, liver diseases, obesity, and kidney illnesses is at higher risk of catching COVID-19 pneumonia.
#Weak Immunity System
Another most important risk factor is a weakened immune system. Being immunocompromised can raise the risk of serious COVID-19 pneumonia disease.