Cold vs. Flu: Symptoms & Tips to Stay Healthy

SSM Health is well equipped and ready to provide you care and relief for both the flu and common cold. Both of these are contagious, respiratory illnesses. But, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between their symptoms. The below symptoms list may help.

Cold Symptoms

  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Mild fever

Flu Symptoms

  • Feeling feverish or chills
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose

Flu Vaccine Recommendations

The flu vaccine is recommended for all individuals over six old. At SSM Health we also recommend that children under nine receive two vaccines, administered four weeks apart, to maximize its benefits. This should only be done if your child has not received at least two vaccines in the past.

We also recommend that our patients 65 or older, with chronic medical conditions (diabetes, asthma or heart disease) and those who are pregnant get the vaccine. If you are in regular contact with anyone who fits the above criteria it is also advised that you receive your annual flu vaccine.

Staying Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

The primary way to avoid getting sick is by washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating. Alcohol-based cleaners are also effective when soap and water are not available. Other measures you may want to consider are:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with others who have flu-like symptoms
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