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As painful and irritating colds and flues can be, can you tell the difference between the two? Karen Toews 346x250Doctor Karen Toews (Photo credit: Steinbach Family Medical)

Doctor Karen Toews of Steinbach Family Medical Clinic says the two are often mixed up. She explains the flu is usually high fever, shakes and chills, aches and pains and feeling like you have been hit by a truck. The cold, on the other hand, has more gradual symptoms which include stuffy nose, runny nose, coughing sneezing, and sore throat.

"The flu is caused by influenza which is a virus and then there’s different kind of cold viruses but then people also get mixed up between gastro which is vomiting and diarrhea and that’s a different virus as well," says Toews. 

Toews notes the best way to prevent from getting the flu is to get the flu shot. As for the cold, she notes washing your hands is a vital piece but ultimately she says when it goes around it goes around. Toews strongly encourages people to get the flu shot, specifically pregnant women and the elderly. She also adds if you have the cold or the flu and you are relatively well otherwise, it's best to stay home if you can as opposed to crowding an emergency room. 

"With the elderly, you can get quite sick with the flu and there are complications like pneumonia, and they’re very short of breath for example, then they will need to come in," explains Toews," or if they are so weak that they can’t get up out of bed and they can’t drink on their own then they’ll need to come in. It kind of depends on how bad the symptoms are."

 

 

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