Most Shared

BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Health News

Health News

 
text size

Cold vs. Flu

Updated: Monday, January 13 2014, 01:45 PM CST


Cold Versus Flu

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar flu-like symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.


How can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can be carried out, when needed to tell if a person has the flu.


What are the symptoms of the flu versus the symptoms of a cold?

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

What flu viruses does this season’s vaccine protect against?

Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. Each year, these viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

The 2013-2014 trivalent influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:

    an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
    an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
    a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.

It is recommended that the quadrivalent vaccine containing two influenza B viruses include the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

More information about influenza vaccines is available at Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination.

How long does a flu vaccine protect me from getting the flu?

Multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time. The decline in antibodies is influenced by several factors, including the antigen used in the vaccine, age of the person being vaccinated, and the person's general health (for example, certain chronic health conditions may have an impact on immunity). When most healthy people with regular immune systems are vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies and they are protected throughout the flu season, even as antibody levels decline over time. People with weakened immune systems may not generate the same amount of antibodies after vaccination; further, their antibody levels may drop more quickly when compared to healthy people.

For everyone, getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season. It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year, even if you got vaccinated the season before and the viruses in the vaccine have not changed for the current season.




Cold vs. Flu


Advertise with us!

Health Watch

  [ - ] Video Stories Only  [ - ] Text Stories Only  [ + ] Show All

ABC National Health News

Dallas Conjoined Twins Head to Rehab
The Ezell twins, formerly conjoined, are now happy, healthy and heading to rehab.
Dangers of Vaccine Hesitancy Explained in 10 Tweets
Many parents hesitate to vaccinate their children because of safety concerns.
Team Hoyt to Run Last Boston Marathon
Dick and Rick Hoyt are 74 and 52 years old and want to slow down.
No Shots, No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak
At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus.
Girl Mauled by Raccoon Gets New Ear
Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate will pull a piece of the girl's rib and mold it into the shape of an ear and put that inside her forearm to grow. Eight weeks later, they will remove it and attach it to her ear.
Mom Whose Child Died After Catching Chicken Pox Advocates for Vaccines
Does vaccine refusal and hesitancy put everyone at risk for diseases?
Pregnancy Weight Has 'Goldilocks Effect' on Baby's Obesity Risk
Find out the impact of gaining too much or too little weight during pregnancy.
How the Polar Vortex Could Create a Pollen Vortex
Why the Polar Vortex may lead to a terrible allergy season.
Health Dept Takes Man With Tuberculosis to Court
Health officials fear he'll exposure others.
Girl With Cerebral Palsy Gets Hospital Visit From Boyfriend
Watch India Brainard's face light up when she sees her boyfriend, Daniel.
New Technology 'Grows' Man-Made Body Parts
A look at the new technology that let's doctors "grow" body parts in the lab.
New NHL Lawsuit Is the Most Graphic Yet
A new lawsuit that accuses the NHL of putting profits before safety is littered with images of bloodied, toothless hockey players.
Researchers Find Google Glass Can Help Parkinson's Patients
As rumors swirl about Google Glass finally being available to the public, the device is already being examined for use as a daily aid for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Heart Recipient Honors 21-Year-Old Donor
Susan Vieira is trying to complete heart donor's bucket list.
Why Your Spouse May Be 'Hangry' for a Fight
The link between marital discord and hunger pangs.
Watch: Digital Mirror Reveals Internal Organs
3D installation creates what your body might look like on the inside.
Watch: Boy, 11, Wants Amputation But Is 'Nervous'
Amit Vigoda, who has a painful and rare orthopedic condition, opts for life-changing surgery.
Watch: Woman Poses Daily to Document Year With Lung Cancer
Images capture Jennifer Glass in her first year of cancer treatment.
9 Real Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
To find solutions that actually work, we scoured the latest research. Here's what we found.
6 Food Labels That Don't Mean What You Think They Do
Misunderstanding these labels could be sabotaging your health.
4 Fun Ways to Get Your Vitamin D
Get your vitamin D the old-fashioned way: from good food and a bit of sun.
4 Ways to Stress Less and Look Great
Not only does stress affect your mood—and your midsection—but you can also see it on your skin in the form of lines, rashes, bumps and breakouts. Since we all experience pressure from time to time, the trick is how we deal with it.
 

Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future.

To Learn More About Health Care Reform, Click Here

Navigation

Sacred Heart Health System - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cardiology - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cancer Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Orthopedics - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vein Institute - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
The Endoscopy Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vascular & Interventional - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Stand Up Open MRI - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Advertise with us!

Tonight on ABC 3

06:30PM Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
07:00PM The Middle
07:30PM Suburgatory
08:00PM Modern Family
08:31PM Mixology
09:00PM Nashville
10:00PM Channel 3 News

Complete ABC 3 Schedule