Flu symptoms can make someone feel much worse than those who just have a cold. According to Clay County Health Department Nurse Kim Hyatt, the difference between cold and flu symptoms is as follows:
* Fever is rare with a cold but usual with the flu between temperatures of 100-102 degrees,
* Headache is rare with a cold but common with the flu,
* General aches and pains are only slight with a cold, but are usual and often severe with the flu,
* Fatigue and weakness occurs only sometimes with a cold, but is usual and can last two weeks with the flu,
* Extreme exhaustion never occurs with a cold, but is usual especially at the beginning of the flu,
* Stuffy nose is common with a cold, but only happens sometimes with the flu,
* Sneezing is usual with a cold, but only happens sometimes with the flu,
* Sore throat is common with a cold, but only happens sometimes with the flu, and
* Chest discomfort and cough is mild to moderate with a cold, but is common and can be severe with the flu.
Complications with a cold include sinus congestion, middle ear infection or asthma. Complications with the flu can include bronchitis, pneumonia. Flu complications can be life threatening.
According to Hyatt, Clay County is starting to see an increase in flu cases.
"Looking at the trends from other states, they have seen an increase (in flu cases this year), so we probably will too," Hyatt said, who explained a different strain as already been decided to be added to the flu vaccine for next year.
According to the Associated Press, the number of Indiana flu deaths this season has risen to 10, up from seven last week. A weekly health department report said eight of those who died were older than 50 and two were under 18.
An epidemiologist said earlier this week that most of the flu circulating now is an H3N2 virus that tends to be more severe than some other strains.
According to the Associated Press, this year's outbreak is regarded as one of the worst in several years.
Hyatt said those suffering from flu symptoms should see their doctor, stay home to keep from spreading the illness and stay hydrated by drinking fluids.
Treatment for colds includes antihistamines, decongestant anti-inflammatory medication; however, for the flu, antiviral medicines are the only treatment, which can only be prescribed by a doctor.
The flu normally lasts for a few days, but muscle aches and fatigue can last up to a week.
To prevent the flu, people should cover their coughs, wash their hands well, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
The best option is to get the flu vaccine. People develop immunity about two weeks after receiving the vaccine.