Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

Cold and flu banner

West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people of the difference between colds and flu and that if you are fit and healthy you can usually manage the symptoms of these illnesses with over the counter medication at home.  It may be getting warmer, but cold and flu bugs are still very much around.

Symptoms of a cold include:

  • runny nose – beginning with clear mucus that develops into thicker, green mucus as the cold progresses
  • blocked nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • cough

People with a cold may also suffer with a mild fever, earache, tiredness and headache. Symptoms develop over one or two days and gradually get better after a few days. Some colds can last for up to two weeks.

A cold is most contagious during the early stages, when the person has a runny nose and sore throat.

Flu, on the other hand, usually comes on much more quickly than a cold, and 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

As colds and flu are still around,

Dr Rob Gerlis, CCG Chair 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.’’

For more advice on staying well this winter visit the NHS website