Is it the flu?

By Adam Hooper & Veronica Rodriguez

Carleton student wears face mask to guard against H1N1. Photo Credit: Teghan Beaudette

With the risks of H1N1 on the rise, it is important to know if you’re suffering from symptoms of the flu or a common cold.

“There is a big difference,” says Dr. Stephen Kamath from Appletree Medical Centre. “You may not know when you have a cold, but you’ll be sure when you have the flu.”

For one thing, he says, both viruses feel different at their onset. A cold might take several days to develop, whereas the flu can catch you by surprise.

A cold is an infection of the nose, throat or lungs. It can cause a cough, sore throat, and a stuffy or runny nose.

The flu virus also infects the nose, throat and lungs, but it is more severe: it leads to extreme exhaustion, high fevers and more severe aches and pains than a common cold.

By the end of October, almost 80 per cent of flu cases worldwide were H1N1, according to the World Health Organization. Both H1N1 and regular seasonal flu cause the same symptoms.

Cough medicines, painkillers and nasal sprays may make you feel better, but cold and flu viruses will stay with you until they run their course. Fluids and Vitamin C are helpful home remedies for colds or the flu. But rest is by far the best medication.

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