Cold vs. Flu: Can You Spot the Signs?

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 12:47 pm

Achoo! You feel a little tickle in your nose and throat like something is coming on. But you may be wondering, is it a cold or the flu?

It can be tricky to tell these viruses apart because some symptoms are similar. But flu has some unique characteristics and here’s how you can tell the difference.

Fever, body aches, and chills are the three most common and early signs of flu. These hallmark symptoms are not present in head colds, so that may help you distinguish these two respiratory illnesses.

Time can be a determiner. Colds develop slowly over two to three days, whereas flu comes on abruptly and can last up to two weeks. Symptoms of flu feel more intense than a cold, as well. So if you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, think flu. If you’re just stuffy and sneezy, it’s likely a cold.

After you’ve pinpointed your symptoms, take care to relieve them. Make sure to get plenty of rest and keep hydrated. Homeopathic medicines can offer relief.

For flu-like symptoms, there’s Oscillococcinum. This homeopathic medicine has been used for more than 70 years to reduce the severity and duration of body aches, headache, fever, chills, and fatigue. Time is of the essence when you have flu, so make sure you have this on hand to nip symptoms in the bud at their onset. Oscillococcinum is non-drowsy and can be used for everyone ages 2 and up.

Boiron offers a variety of medicines to address common cold symptoms. ColdCalm quick-dissolving tablets relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and minor sore throat.* This medicine is also available as slightly sweet melt-away pellets that are easier for younger kids to take, as well as single-use liquid doses for little ones 6 months of age and older.

For cold-related coughs, there’s Chestal Honey. This honey-based syrup calms all types of common coughs and loosens chest congestion for everyone.

For more helpful tips on how to stay well during the winter season, visit the Oscillo Wellness Center.

These “Uses” have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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4 thoughts on “Cold vs. Flu: Can You Spot the Signs?”

  1. My children have cold on and off, how long can I keep giving them coldcalm, kali bichromicum Kali mu? As throatcalm is not for children less than 12, can I give them phytolacca decantara in stead?

    1. Thanks for your question about ColdCalm and single medicines. ColdCalm contains Phytolacca decandra 6C and can be used for up to 2 days. Kali brichromicum, Phytolacca decandra, and Kali muriaticum can be taken for up to 3 days. It’s recommended that you talk to your health care professional if you or your children intend to take them for a longer period of time.

  2. I didn’t know that colds could develop over the course of 2-3 days. My sister has been sniffling lately and wondered if she has any allergies. I think that a health clinic would be able to detect if she had a cold.

    1. Hi Stefan, yes it takes anywhere from one to three days for symptoms to develop after exposure to cold viruses. Sniffling is a common cold symptom, but it certainly may be from allergies, too. We offer medicines for both conditions, and you can find more information here on our website. Hope this has helped you and that your sister feels better soon.

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