Have You Got a Cold or Flu?

Anyone who has had flu will tell you that although the symptoms may sound similar to those of a bad cold, it's not. The symptoms of flu feel more severe.

Colds and flu share so many similarities (think aches, pains and tiredness...) but experts agree that the main differences are that:

  • the symptoms of flu tend to come on much faster than those of a cold
  • the symptoms tend to be more severe and indicate a fever, and the aches and pains feel much worse

When to visit your GP

If you are otherwise fit and healthy and under 65, there is usually no need to visit your GP if you have flu-like symptoms – antibiotics will not help cure flu symptoms.

The NHS advice is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Talk to your pharmacist about taking an appropriate medicine to help relieve some of the symptoms.

However, you should visit your GP if you have flu-like symptoms and you:

  • are 65 years of age or over
  • are pregnant
  • have a long-term medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney or neurological disease
  • have a weakened immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness)

Flu can be more serious for these groups and antiviral medication may need to be prescribed.

Read on - Did you know?