What’s the difference between a cold and the flu? Local doctor explains in Local Health Alert


CORDOVA, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Flu season is in full swing, and now with two confirmed cases in the Mid-south, healthcare professionals are urging you to know the difference between the flu versus the cold, to keep you and your family safe.

“The flu will hit you like a ton of bricks,” said Dr. Jeff Mullins. 

In his line of work he deals with it every season, people coming into his office mistaking one virus for another.

He said, “The problem is, a lot of people come to the doctor’s office because they think they have the flu.”

While the two viruses are similar, he says, the Influenza virus, more commonly known as ‘the flu’, is far worse. 

Both the flu and the cold bring on the runny nose, sore throat, and coughing, but it’s the flu virus that is to blame for the severe rapid onset of a fever, extreme exhaustion, and the aches and pains. 

Dr. Mullins said, “With a cold, it tends to come on more slowly. It may start with a tickle in your throat or a sore throat.”

Dr. Mullins wants everyone to understand that a cold is gradual, meaning you slowly start to feel sick, whereas with the flu, it is very fast, and you will develop a  strong fever within a few hours from when you come in contact with it. 

It’s also important to know that prevention is different for the two viruses.

Dr. Mullins said, “There is no prevention for the cold other than washing your hands.”

As for the flu, get your flu shot.

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