January 21, 2017

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

My workplace is giving free flu shots in a couple of weeks.  I usually don’t sign up for the flu shot but this reminded me that the cold and flu season is upon us.

There are lots of people coming to work while sick, and the most common comment when asked about their condition is, “I’m so miserable, I don’t even know what I have.”   How can you tell whether you have a cold or the flu?   (I am not a doctor; so this is not medical advice.  See your healthcare professional to be sure.)  This way you can prepare yourself and your family.

How colds and flu are similar:

  • Viruses cause both colds and flu.
  • Both may cause sniffles, coughing, tiredness and fever
  • Both are respiratory – affecting the nose and throat, possibly the lungs.

How they are different:

  • Degree of misery:  the flu is definitely more miserable than a cold
  • Speed of onset:  a cold may feel more gradual coming on, but a flu feels like you got hit by a ton of bricks all at once.
  • Symptoms:  although both may have sniffles and cough, the flu will have additional symptoms such as chills, more extreme body aches (bones usually feel heavy or achy), higher fever and more extreme fatigue.


  • Both require lots of rest and drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Over the counter medicines also help.
  • Which one requires you to go to the doctor:  If you suspect the flu, it’s best to visit the doctor as soon as possible so he or she can give you Tamiflu, which can sometimes lessen the symptoms of influenza if you catch it early enough.  Another reason to see a doctor is if you are at a higher risk of complications such as adults over age 65, pregnant women, young children or if you have other chronic ailments or weakened immune system.  For a cold sufferer who is normally in good health, it is a good idea to see a doctor if a cold lasts more that 10 days.

For additional tips, see

This Home Remedy Helped Me Prevent a Cold

Prepare for the Flu Season

I was sick the day after I started this blog and having emergency supplies sure was a big help.  It’s a big inconvenience to have to drag yourself to the store when you already don’t feel well to have to buy pain relievers, tissues, and other supplies.

Why not start a “cold and flu” bucket 

A few ideas on what to include:

– Box of tissues

– Tylenol, NyQuil or any other favorite cold/flu reliever

– oral thermometer

– bottle of apply cider vinegar

– tea, honey and bottled lemon juice (When mixed with warm water makes a good sore throat reliever)

– cough drops

– antibacterial wipes

– canned chicken soup OR freeze dried ingredients for chicken soup so you just need to add water to cook

– Eucalyptus oil (relieves congestion)

– Vitamin C

You may have some other ideas on what you want to include – what are your favorite cold and flu remedies?  Please share in the comments below.

Stay healthy everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2013

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8 Comments on Is it a Cold or the Flu?

  1. There’s one sure fire way of knowing if you have influenza or some other milder virus such as the common cold. You definitely wouldn’t make it into work. Ive only had the flu once and couldn’t lift my head off the pillow or move my limbs without aching all over and my head was thumping too. As part of my pandemic preparedness I have been looking at a supplement called Resveratrol its definitely worth checking it out. It must be the type that stays in your system for 12 hours. It originates from red grapes and their is a certain amount of it in red wine. Scientific studies have proven that its very good at combating flu even more successful than Tamiflu.

    • Hi lisaloolibell, I had heard of Resveratrol, from red grapes but did not associate with strengthening the immune system. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Do you know if either (or both) of the above recommendations are considered safe for pregnancy and/or nursing?

    • For pregnant or nursing moms, I would always recommend checking with the doc just to be on the safe side. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I’ve been watching The Walking Dead, and right now they are showing how the flu is literally killing off half of the group. To be honest, I had no idea that the flu could be so deadly. Guess I just got used to it always being treated. In that situation, what can one do to treat either the cold or the flu using the resources that they have on hand? If you had either no medication or were just out of it, could you come up with some type of a herbal remedy no matter where you were for this affliction?

    • Hi Prepper Lady, I was also fascinated about those elderberries that Herschel was collecting. I am going to research about herbal remedies and post about it soon. Thanks for contacting me.

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