Is it a Cold or the Flu?

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Our local news announced that statistics for the number of flu cases has spiked this week.  I’m not surprised.  I’ve noticed a lot of co-workers coming to work while sick.  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.
  • If you have not recovered from flu symptoms after a week, see a doctor, as you may have worsening conditions such as pneumonia.  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

-Some readers swear by Elderberry Syrup for cough but I have not tried it so I can’t vouch for it yet.

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 2017

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

  2. 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. 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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