Can You Soup Away Colds and Flu?

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Which Is It?

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The flu (influenza) and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference without special lab tests.

Flu symptoms can include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Influenza may lead to pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitaliza­tions lasting several weeks. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose that resolves within a week without serious outcomes.

Is it a Cold or Flu?

#SymptomsInfluenzaCold
Symptom onsetAbruptGradual
Chest discomfort, coughCommonMild/moderate
ChillsCommonSlight
HeadacheCommonRare
SneezingSometimesCommon
Sore throatSometimesCommon
Stuffy noseSometimesCommon
AchesUsualSlight
Fatigue, weaknessUsualSometimes
FeverUsualRare

Table provided by CDC

The flu is a disease caused by a virus. Secondary infection can alter symptoms. If you are coughing up thick green or yellow phlegm, or if you are wheezing, running a fever higher than 101° F (38.3° C), having night sweats, or coughing up blood, you need to see a doctor immediately. These may be signs of a more serious illness that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD (WebMD), and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz. He is a prior 15-year con­sul­tant for Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs.

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