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A runny nose and shivering? Do you have the flu or do you have a cold?

It was already predicted by the Nivel health institute: the flu wanders around in our country and can even take on epidemic forms. But because so many people have the flu, you may mistakenly think that you have it too. It is not always easy to determine whether you have a cold or the flu. The symptoms can overlap, so when you start to get sick it’s hard to recognize the difference.

The seasonal common cold is an inflammation of the respiratory tract and is the main reason for visiting the doctor and missed work or school days. A cold dissolves fairly quickly while the symptoms may persist for up to two weeks. In contrast to the flu, the cold symptoms are fairly mild and rarely lead to serious health problems.

Viruses free in the air

Research from the United States has shown that there are more than a hundred different viruses that can cause a cold. The – highly contagious – rhinovirus, however, is in most cases the reason people start sneezing and sneezing. Most viruses that cause colds thrive best in a low-humidity environment, making colds most common in the autumn and winter. You can still catch a cold throughout the year. When a sick person sneezes or coughs, viruses are released into the air. You can also get sick if you touch a surface (for example, a door handle) that was touched by someone with a virus shortly before, and if you then touch your nose, mouth or eyes.

Symptoms of colds

  • Running nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • To sneeze
  • Slight temperature increase
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Light fatigue
  • Tearing eyes
  • Earache

Flu is another respiratory disease and is caused by Influenza A and B viruses. Active influenza viruses vary from year to year and therefore a new vaccine is developed every year to protect us against it. Flu can develop into a much more serious condition such as pneumonia. This is especially true for small children, the elderly, pregnant women and asthma patients.

More severe symptoms

Flu is most common in the fall with a peak in the winter months. You can catch flu in the same way as a cold, namely through (indirect) contact with someone who is infected. The symptoms of flu are very similar to those of a cold, but they are generally more severe.

The remedy is with flu and the cold is the same: take enough rest. In principle, you do not have to take medication against the cold and flu. For the flu you can possibly get a flu shot if you belong to the risk groups (people with diabetes, weak resistance due to illness, the elderly). Other tips for flu and colds: drink plenty of water, tea and fruit juice. Relieve the symptoms with cough drink, painkillers, nasal spray, inhaled ointment and / or by steaming.

Does your cold or flu last longer than two weeks? Then contact your doctor. And do the same if you have a fever for more than five days or if it comes back after the fever first subsided.

There are many ‘flu myths’ circulating. As a result, many people no longer know what is and what is not. Make sure you are aware of the most important flu myths, read the article ‘4 persistent flu myths’.

For this article we worked together with Dokterdokter.nl. There you will find many more articles about health, checked by doctors and medical specialists.

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