You feel sick, but is it the flu or a cold?

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January 13, 2014 5:05:55 PM PST
Influenza is now widespread in Pennsylvania. But how do you know if you have the flu, or a cold?

Here's an easy way to tell the difference, simply by spelling out the word FACTS.

F --- for fever

A --- for severe body aches

C ---- for chills

T --- for tiredness

S --- for a sudden onset of those symptoms.

The most important indicators are fever and sudden onset.

For adults, you most likely won't have a fever with a cold. And a cold typically comes on over a day or so.

The flu comes on very quickly.

Most of the time you WON'T have nausea and vomiting with the flu or a cold, but it can be seen with some flu strains.

No matter what is causing the symptoms, these are signs you want to be seen by a healthcare provider:

*** If you are getting worse after a few days

*** If you have any trouble breathing

*** If you have a cold, but are not improving after a week

That could be a sign it is a bacterial infection and you will need antibiotics.

For kids, err on the side of caution-- any questions, call your pediatrician.


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