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Is it allergies, the common cold, seasonal flu or H1N1?


By: Melody Dizon


And I cannot agree with you all anymore than I already do. Is it not a trick question? More so a trick or not a trip to the ER is where we will end up if we land on any of these signs and symptoms that are almost identical to one another. So how do you know what made you sick? Let’s tackle this.

Seasonal flu

Key symptom:

Fever that comes on fast

Best fix: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

If your fever hits 101°F or 102°F and comes with chest discomfort plus major aches and exhaustion, it’s probably the seasonal flu, says Neil Schachter MD, author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu. Take pain pills for fever and aches, rest, and drink lots of liquids. Those at high risk—pregnant, elderly, or chronically ill—may need antiviral meds such as Tamiflu or Relenza.


Key symptom: Nasal congestion

Best fix: Rest, drink a lot of water

If you have a runny nose, a little cough, maybe a low-grade fever (below 100°F)—it’s probably a winter cold, which isn’t associated with body aches or high fever like the flu. Staying hydrated will boost your immune system and help relieve congestion. Cold medicine? It might help you feel better, but it won’t cure you any sooner. Plus, it might lead to side effects like dry mouth or sleep trouble.


Key symptom: Itchiness (eyes, nose, and throat)

Best fix: Antihistamines or a neti pot

Allergies are less troublesome in winter than spring and fall, but if you’re sneezy, itchy, and runny, you may be having an attack. It’s smart to keep on hand the allergy meds that work best for you, no matter the season. If you have chronic irritation, try a neti pot, a teapot-like tool that irrigates your sinuses and removes offenders, or a saline nasal spray.

Swine flu or H1N1

Key symptoms: Fever plus nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting

Best fix: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

The H1N1 virus feels a lot like seasonal flu (although possibly milder), but often comes with gastro issues, which make it even easier to get dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, and follow standard flu treatment. Stay home (this flu is highly contagious), and call your doc if you’re in the high risk category or if you’re not better after a week. Any flu can develop into pneumonia.

Reminder to our avid readers, it is flu season month. Please get your flu shots now. It might just help you decipher quickly which symptom we can attribute your ailment to. 35% of either allergies or colds? Narrowed it down a bit, not much but I’ll take it. Good luck Via Times readers and stay healthy, wash hands, cover your mouth when sneezing and do not leave your house when you are sick. You will do all of us a huge favor. Salamat po. Sources: Time.com / Health.com

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