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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 Lindsey Guerin
Because I wear my Dexcom on my arm, I’ve slowly adjusted to the fact that people will ask me about it. Sometimes it’s the rude and inquisitive “What’s that?” and sometimes it’s somewhat sincere curiosity “Is that a (insert random type of medical device that they assume)?” Sometimes it bothers me more than others depending on how they ask and how they respond once I’ve told them what it is. I have limits to how much myth-busting I want to do in everyday conversation and how much rudeness I can...