Is it a cold or the flu?

October 18, 2018

Trying to decide whether you have the flu or a cold can be tricky because many of the symptoms are common to both viruses. So how do you tell them apart? Take this little quiz. While some answers might surprise you, we’ll bet that if you’ve had a chance to read Teladoc’s flu season blogs or have checked out our Flu HQ in the past year, then you may know more than you realize.

Each question has these four answer options:
A) Cold
B) Flu
C) Both illnesses
D) Neither illness

Ready? Here we go…

1. Antibiotics are effective in treating which illness?

Answer: D-neither illness. Colds and flu are viruses, and antibiotics cannot be used to treat them. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Trying to treat viruses with antibiotics can cause you to become resistant to antibiotic treatment. On the other hand, antiviral medicines may be effective in treating flu.

2. Which illness can be prevented with a vaccination?

Answer: B-flu. This is a bit of a trick question though. Flu vaccines are developed each year but only inoculate against specific strains of the virus. No matter what, though, no vaccine can prevent a cold virus.

3. Which illness can be spread through the air?

Answer: C-both illnesses. Anyone infected with a cold or flu virus can spread it by coughing or sneezing. Droplets can travel as far as six feet, so anyone within that range can contract the illness.

4. Symptoms tend to develop and escalate quickly with which illness?

Answer: B-flu. Onset time can be a very telling indicator. Flu symptoms can appear suddenly, while cold symptoms develop over a few days.

5. If you get sick in July, which of the two viruses are you more likely to have contracted?

Answer: A-cold. Colds are considered year-round illnesses. While flu can also be contracted any time of year, flu season in the U.S. tends to occur from early autumn through early spring, and sometimes as late as May.

6. Over-the-counter (OTC) products such as pain and fever reducers, decongestants, and antihistamines can be taken to treat which illness?

Answer: C-both illnesses. Symptoms such as fever, nasal congestion, and sore throat are common to both ailments. In addition to soothing your symptoms, be sure to stay well hydrated and get lots of rest.

 

Whether it’s the cold or flu, the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands thoroughly and often, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, and avoid anyone who’s already ill.

If your symptoms don’t improve in a few days or you develop a high fever (101° F or higher) for more than three days, you may have the flu, and that’s an ideal time to put Teladoc to work for you.

Our extensive network of board-certified physicians will help diagnose your condition, recommend treatments, and even send prescriptions to a pharmacy close to you when medically necessary. Connect with us 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. by app, web, or phone. When you get a moment, review and update your profile—be sure to include any changes in prescription and OTC medicines that you already take.

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