flu vs cold

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky has some of the highest rates of flu in the nation. But telling the sniffles from the flu can be confusing. A local doctor shares five ways to tell the difference.

Lacy Shumway spent five days on her couch after the flu knocked her out.

"I've never felt so bad in my life," the Louisville woman said. "It was so bad I thought my husband was going to take me to the emergency room."

With some similar symptoms, telling a cold from the flu can be confusing.

"It can be difficult for even physicians to tell the difference," said Dr. David French with Norton Community Medical Associates in Shelbyville.

Here are five ways the two differ:

1.) Do you have a fever? That's a common symptom with the flu, but not with a cold.

"One of the big things is with a cold you might feel feverish but with the flu you typically have a very high fever. Typically over 100.5," said Dr. French.

2.) Do you have body aches and the chills? When it comes to influenza body aches and chills are common and severe, but isn't always the case for people with colds.

"With cold, you have minor chills, but with the flu you have very aggressive chills," said Dr. French.

3.) What does your cough sound like?

"With a cold, you will have a hacky cough, but with the flu, it will sometimes be a much more productive cough," said Dr. French.

4.) Do you have a headache? They're not all that common with a cold.

"Frequently the flu is coming by severe headaches as well," said Dr. French.

5.) How did the symptoms start? Sudden symptoms might signal the flu. Cold symptoms usually come on more gradually.

"They started so suddenly and I felt so bad I couldn't move. My fever was really high," said Shumway.

The good news? There's still time to get a flu shot. The bad news? Doctors expect the flu season to last through March.

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