July 26, 2016
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Influenza (cont.)

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When does flu season begin and end?

Flu season officially begins in October of each year and extends to May of the following year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can follow the development of flu across the United States by following CDC's weekly update of the locations where flu is developing in the U.S. (see the flu map).

Flu vs. cold

Compared with most other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza (flu) infection usually causes a more severe illness with a mortality rate (death rate) of about 0.1% of people who are infected with the virus. Cold symptoms (for example, sore throat, runny nose, cough, congestion, and slight fever) are similar to flu symptoms, but the flu symptoms are more severe, last longer, and may include vomiting and diarrhea.

The following table is provided by the CDC to help distinguish between a cold and influenza:

Signs and SymptomsInfluenzaCold
Symptom onsetAbruptGradual
FeverUsual; lasts 3-4 daysRare
AchesUsual; often severeSlight
ChillsFairly commonUncommon
Fatigue, weaknessUsualSometimes
SneezingSometimesCommon
Stuffy noseSometimesCommon
Sore throatSometimesCommon
Chest discomfort, coughCommon; can be severeMild to moderate; hacking cough
HeadacheCommonRare
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/influenza/article.htm

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