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How to tell difference between cold and flu as brutal virus sweeps UK

How to tell difference between cold and flu as brutal virus sweeps UK

Tis the season for tissues and tablets

Sitting on train at the moment may feel like every other row has someone sniffling or there’s the echoes of people sneezing around the supermarket as you stock up on tissues and tablets.

While it might all be twinkly lights of Christmas at this time of year, it’s also when people start to pick up colds and flus as the weather gets colder. How merry.

But what really is the difference between a cold and the flu?

I mean, there’s said to be a pretty nasty virus sweeping the UK at the moment, so it’s pretty important you’re clued up on what’s what.

Reddit users complaining of a ‘brutal cold’ lasting weeks and leaving them ‘feeling like s**t’ for a while.

The NHS’s West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has laid out the differences between colds and flu, so people know just what they’re battling with in winter.

A 'brutal' cold that patients describe as 'worse than any winter bug' has swept across the UK over the past month.

Symptoms of a cold

· runny nose – beginning with clear mucus that develops into thicker, green mucus as the cold progresses

· blocked nose

· sore throat

· sneezing

· cough

Colds of course tend to be milder than a flu and generally don’t end up in serious health problems like pneumonia or bacterial infections.

If you’re suffering from a cold, you might have a mild fever, earache, tiredness and headache.

The symptoms tend to develop over one or two days and gradually get better after a few days by themselves.

Sometimes a cold can last for up to two weeks – which is pretty rough going if you’re unlucky enough to catch one this year.

They tend to be most contagious in those early stages, when your throat is sore and your nose just won’t stop running.

Flu is more severe in its symptoms.
Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Symptoms of flu

Flu tends to come on much more quickly. Symptoms include:

· sudden fever of 38-40C (100-104F)

· muscle aches and pains

· sweating

· feeling exhausted and needing to lie down

· a dry, chesty cough

Unlike a cold, the flu can have more serious associated complications in certain cases.

Chair of the Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Rob Gerlis says: “A medicine cabinet with adequate stocks of cold and flu remedies is still important, this along with lots of rest and plenty of fluids will see you back to good health in a few days.

"See your pharmacist for advice about how to treat your cold or flu in the first instance."

Stay healthy lads and may you be blessed with a cold and flu free winter this year. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

Featured Image Credit: Vera Livchak/Getty Justin Paget/Getty Images

Topics: Health, UK News