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How to Handle Cold and Flu Season

Name That Bug

Although colds and the flu share many pesky symptoms, including headache, sore throat and cough, there are some ways to tell them apart, says Dr. Schachter. Use the chart below to help you distinguish between the two winter bugs:

It's a Cold If...

  • Your fever, if you have one, is low-grade (100 or 101 degrees).
  • You sneeze and have a sore throat, then develop congestion and teary eyes.
  • You feel significantly better after three or four days.

It's the Flu If...

  • You develop a high fever—over 102 degrees.
  • Symptoms (like body aches, chills and exhaustion) strike suddenly.
  • Symptoms last four to five days, and you're too ill to go to work or children are unable to go to school.