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Flu Facts

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Considering how common they are, colds and flu are the subject of a great many misconceptions. Dr. Seth Feltheimer, an associate attending physician, and Patricia Ciminera, nurse practitioner at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, offer their insights and expertise on these sources of misery.

First, the differences: a cold is usually an upper respiratory tract infection with symptoms including a sore throat, head congestion, sinus pain, and low-grade fever. On the other hand, the flu is generally marked by a higher fever, a sore throat, a cough, and body aches. A common cold usually lasts two to three days while the flu usually takes a week or more to abate. Unlike colds, the flu can lead to more serious complications and even hospitalization, especially in high-risk individuals like asthmatics, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.

Now, on to the facts and the fallacies!

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this slideshow

Reviewed by Jason C. Baker, MD 11/13.

 

The best way to prevent a cold is to wash your hands.

FACT OR FICTION?


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by Nicole Purcell
So... About that swollen finger. Against my better judgement I skipped going to the doc for the swollen finger. It is my middle finger, by the way, on my right hand. After talking with a friend of mine, I decided to give a home regiment a try. I wasn't in *that* much pain and really, what could it hurt. I knew that if whatever I tried didn't work I'd end up at the doctor's office anyway. Just fitting in that visit - plus going on an antibiotic - which has its whole set...