This year's flu season has been the worst we've seen in a long time. The whole country is struggling to fend off the symptoms, and it's honestly getting to be a bit much. We all seem to be fighting off a cold or flu every second week, but how do you know when you should be worried?
Lately, the flu has gotten this new dangerous reputation. However, it can be hard to know the difference between the common cold and the flu.
Dr. Jennifer Caudle recently spoke with Bustle to help decipher the differences between a cold and a flu, and it is really helpful to get a doctor's advice. "It can be hard to tell between having a cold and having the flu, because a lot of the symptoms like sneezing, coughing, tend to overlap," Caudle said.
There are however a few ways that you can tell the difference. "The flu comes on rather quickly and symptoms seem to be more severe than a cold," Claudle says. "Things like high fever and muscle aches and pains tend to hit you like a bus and it just wipes people out."
Here are some other tricks to tell if it's a cold or a flu:
1. If you are suddenly extremely tired all the time
Your energy levels are a really good indicator of your health, and suddenly becoming incredibly exhausted all the time is more often linked to the flu rather than a cold. While you might feel a bit run down while you have a cold, the weakness you'll feel while you have a flu will probably make it almost impossible to do the things you would normally do.
2. If your muscles ache and you are experiencing chills
Not only will you feel tired when you have the flu, but you're going to get a lot of unexplained pains in your back, legs, head, and neck. Body aches aren't typically associated with a regular cold.
There are a few symptoms you should watch out for as well...
3. If your cough is severe
While you might think that a cough is often associated with a cold, it should only be light coughing. Severe coughing is much more likely to indicate a flu.
4. If your throat is getting sore
Healthline.com says "in the earliest stages of the flu, your throat may feel scratchy and irritated. You may also feel a strange sensation when you swallow food or drinks. If you have a sore throat, it will likely get worse as the virus progresses."
5. If your fever is above 100˚F (38˚C)
A fever is your body's way of fighting off infections, so it's pretty obvious that it would indicate a flu. The temperature of your fever is important, as it's important to see a doctor if it raises to 103˚F.
6. If you experience any gastrointestinal issues
Any time you start to experience diarrhea, vomiting or stomach pain, it's time to admit that you have the flu. It's important to stay hydrated, as it's really the only thing you can do to combat it.
When you do have the flu, it's important to know that the best thing you can do is stay home and avoid contact with others, unless you are getting medical care. Make sure to keep an eye on your temperature, and don't forget to see a doctor if goes to 103˚F. Knowing what you're dealing with can help make sure you are getting the right medication, so remember this for the future!