Cold, Flu, Sore Throat

Coming down with a stuffy or running nose, sneezing, coughing, a scratchy throat and an aching muscle every now and then can be quite frustrating, but being able to differentiate the symptoms and know exactly what you are suffering from can go a long way in helping you get the right medical treatment and take the right medications.

A lot of individuals find this difficult to do especially with the symptoms of cold and flu having a lot of similarities, leading them to immediately jump to conclusions and diagnose themselves as coming down with a common cold whenever they are feeling unwell while infact, the situation might just be much worst than they think.

In this article, I will be talking about the various symptoms, how to easily differentiate common cold from flu and the role sore throat plays in all these.

Sore Throat: The Early Warning Signal

Having a sore throat is usually the first indication that appears telling you that all might not be well with your health. They are annoying, painful and can creep up on you at any time of the year. They are also usually accompanied by a cold or a flu.
The symptoms of soar throat includes a dry, scratchy and uncomfortable feeling along your throat that makes swallowing and talking difficult.

Causes Of Sore Throat

The most common cause of a sore throat is viral infection which can either be caused by a virus or a bacteria. Most sore throats caused by viruses are known to accompany colds and they tend to resolve themselves within a week or so while those caused by bacteria are more severe and might lead to strep throat infection and flu.

Cold Symptoms
Viruses that causes cold actually number into hundreds and their symptoms and effects can differ from one individual to another, with those having one immune problem or the other and people who smoke experiencing more severe reactions to the viruses than others.
Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. If symptoms don't improve after the said date then that might be a sign that you are currently suffering from something more than a normal cold and you should immediately see your doctor. Cold symptoms includes:

  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • A discomforting sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Constant head aches and body aches
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Generally feeling weak and unwell 

Flu Symptoms 
Flu symptoms on the other hand are usually known to be more severe than cold symptoms and they last longer too. To easily differentiate a cold symptom case from a flu symptom case, just simply take your temperature.
 Flu symptoms mimics a lot of cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But coming down with a common cold will rarely cause your temperature to rise to a feverish level of 101 degrees and above.
A flu case might even bring out some severe symptoms that requires immediate medical care. These severe cases might include:

  • Having severe chest pain
  • Constant severe headaches
  • Shortness of breath or irregularities in breathing 
  • Dizziness and fainting spells
  • Disorientation and Confusion
  • Persistent stomach upset and vomiting

It all sounds pretty bad right? Well you have nothing to worry about, with the right treatment and medications, you can easily combat these symptoms and get yourself back to your healthy ways.
The best way to prevent the cold and flu symptoms is by constant hand washing and sanitation.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a common type of sore throat found mostly in children, it can also affect adults too but it’s very rarely seen. This kind of condition can be easily confused with other conditions, so it helps to always remember that strep throat usually comes with pain and fever but without a cough. Like other infections, it is mainly spread through close contact.
The most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore throat that are very painful and can develop very quickly
  • Constant pain when talking or swallowing
  • High Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
  • Constant headache
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting 
  • Body rash known as scarlet fever

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