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Is It the Flu or a Cold?

Here are some tips to help you figure it out.

The CDC says the flu is widespread in all but three states. You've probably run into quite a few people who say they've had it, but it's also  cold season, so how do you tell the difference?
 
The two viruses can have similar symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. Some doctors say a cold is from the neck up,  with mainly sneezing, sniffles and a scratchy throat, while the flu is all over your body and includes, a fever, chills, aches and pains.

Others use a method they say helps in diagnosis---spelling out the word "facts".

The "F" stands for fever, "A" for aches,"C" is for chills,"T" is for tiredness, and the "S" stands for sudden onset.

Doctor Susan Rehm, from Cleveland Clinic says,  "something that comes on suddenly, like you're being hit by a ton of bricks, may very well be flu."  

You're also more likely to develop pneumonia and other serious complications with the flu than with a cold, which is usually milder.

Health experts say it's not too late to get an influenza vaccine. It only takes two weeks for the shot to take effect and this year's formula is about 62 percent effective.

One local doctor says other than that, it's hard to protect yourself from influenza.  According to Dr. Megan Hess, a family physician at Blair Medical Associates in Altoona,  "one of the people who works here sprays everything down with Lysol, but you know what,  she's one of the ones that's gotten the flu shot. I  don't spray everything with Lysol, I see patients  with the flu every  day,  I  haven't gotten it.  Maybe it's my flu shot maybe's it's blind luck."

Dr Hess does recommend a flu shot.
 
Another tip about the flu, If you're vomiting it's most likely not influenza, but some sort of stomach bug.
 

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