Contact Us
Plans and Services Health and Wellness About Wellmark Member Employer Broker Provider
Home About Wellmark Newsroom News Releases
» Promises MatterTM
» Careers
» Community
» Company Information
» Contact Us
» Health Care Reform
» Privacy and Legal
» Newsroom
» Public Policy
 Printer-Friendly Page
Is it a cold, or is it the flu? Eight ways to tell the difference
September 15, 2009

The cold and flu season is fast approaching, and we hear more every day about the dangers of H1N1. When the first symptoms begin to appear, however, many people aren’t sure which illness they have.

 

According to Paul Karazija, M.D., Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield vice president and chief medical officer, there are eight easy ways to tell the difference between colds and the flu.

 

Symptom Cold H1N1/Seasonal Flu

Fever

Fever is rare with a cold.

Fever is common with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.

Aches

Body aches and pains are rarely associated with a cold.

Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.

Chills

Chills are uncommon with a cold.

Chills are common with influenza.

Tiredness

Tiredness is mild with a cold.

Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.

Headache

A headache is uncommon with a cold.

A headache is common with the flu (present in 80% of flu cases).

Sudden Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.

The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.

Sneezing

Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.

Sneezing is uncommon with the flu.

Coughing

A productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.

A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).

 

The differences between seasonal flu and H1N1 are more subtle, and most people will not be able to tell which kind of flu they have. Karazija notes that four main symptoms associated with H1N1 are a fever above 100.4 degrees, a sore throat, muscle aches and more pronounced respiratory symptoms. “If you’ve been ill for several days, and don’t seem to be getting better,” Karazija says, “then don’t be afraid to visit a doctor to find out which type of flu you have.”

 

Visit www.wellmark.com for more information on Wellmark’s health and wellness services. Members should also review their Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Coverage Manual to determine coverage for doctor’s visits and other services under their health plan.

Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338
mcbeet@wellmark.com

 

Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869
rooft@wellmark.com

 

1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

Follow Wellmark on Twitter

Quick Links

» Who We Are
» Fast Facts
» Financials
» Officers
» Board
» History
FacebookTwitterInstagrampinterestLinked InYou Tube