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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 there is a nasty, nasty stomach bug circulating in this neck of the woods, right alongside a resurgence of the flu. The Emergency Room at my work is overrun and on diversion (which never, ever happens here). Four of the people on our eight person team here have already gone down with the nastiness. Throwing up. The runs. Severe cramping and stomach rolling. Dizziness. Horrible headaches and fever. Sounds fun, yeah? When I think of how those kinds...