Is it the flu or the common cold?


PREBLE COUNTY — Seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. It is usually spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. However, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to appear all year long.

Most people who get the flu usually recover in one to two weeks, but the flu can be deadly. An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the U.S.

Flu vaccine remains your best protection against flu and flu complications, like pneumonia. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. Each year, these viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

While CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

• Pregnant women

• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old

• People 65 years of age and older

• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions

• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.

You’re not feeling well. You’re exhausted, coughing and have a stuffy nose. How do you know if it’s the flu or merely a cold? To tell, look at the F.A.C.T.S. Do you have Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, and Sudden onset of symptoms? — All of these symptoms point to flu.

A stuffy nose, sore throat and hoarseness without the other symptoms indicate a cold. For adults, vomiting is a sign of a stomach bug rather than flu.

Get your flu shot today. Flu shots available at Preble County Public Health Mondays during immunization clinic from 9-11 a.m., and 3-5 p.m.No appointment needed for flu shots only. Closed Holidays.

To keep up with other public health–related issues make sure to check out Preble County Public Health online at, through Facebook at and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth! We are also available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM by phone at 937-472-0087.

By Anita Stoner

For The Register-Herald

Reach Anita Stoner, Preble County Public Health Public Information Officer, at 937-472-0087.

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