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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 Carey Potash
There is a stark difference between my "see ya later" to my camper and other parents' to theirs. "OK, have fun!" one mom told her son. "OK, don't pass out," I say to mine. The mom laughed and said to her son, "I don't want to hear from you until 4:30 pm this time!" Apparently there was a big ordeal with skates that didn't fit the prior day which caused him to miss some of the camp. ...