Swine Flu vs. the Common Cold

In a world where nothing is as it seems, how can you tell your aches and sniffles are due to an innocent rhinovirus… and not the heinous H1N1? Hudson Valley editors break it down

If your ah-choos sound more like oink-oinks these days, you may be in trouble: Though outbreaks of the H1N1 virus — more commonly (and incorrectly) known as swine flu — have subsided as of late, local docs and health directors are urging Valley residents to take caution.

In a report by the Times Herald-Record, deputy public health director Nancy McGraw of Sullivan County Health Services says, “We’re still urging people to get the seasonal flu and H1N1 shots.”

How can you tell if you have a seasonal cold or the flu? Check our list of common symptoms:

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Cold Symptoms

Flu Symptoms

Fevers are rare

80% of flu cases involve fever;
temperature of 100°F or higher for 3-4 days

Mucus-producing cough

Dry cough (usually no mucus)

Slight body aches possible

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Severe aches and pains common

Stuffy nose common (usually resolves within a week)

Stuffy nose uncommon

Chills uncommon

60% of flu cases involve chills

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Fatigue fairly mild

Fatigue moderate to severe

Sneezing common

Sneezing uncommon

Cold symptoms develop over a few days

Flu symptoms develop within 3-6 hours

Headaches uncommon

80% of flu cases involve headaches

Sore throat common

Sore throat uncommon

Chest discomfort mild to moderate

Chest discomfort often severe

Still wondering about the flu? Visit www.flu.gov for more information, videos, and to get the facts on influenza and the H1N1 vaccine. Or visit www.nyhealth.gov for the New York State Department of Health’s flu breakdown (click here for the most recent stats).

Our friends at the Times Herald-Record have a great poster (with piggies!) illustrating the many ways you and your family can help fight the flu — like washing your hands, getting plenty of rest, and getting vaccinated. Check it out here. And remember: stay healthy, Hudson Valley!

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