Are there clear-cut signs & symptoms for cold vs. flu? | VERIFY

Is it a cold or is it the flu? There are cardinal signs and symptoms to tell the difference. We verify how.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - In Arkansas, we can verify that influenza is currently widespread. There have been 94 people who have died, and the state has logged more than 32,000 positive flu tests since October 2017.

But in addition to the flu, there are other viruses causing illness. We find out how to quickly tell if it's the flu or a cold so you can get the treatment you need.

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Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, and a stuffy nose. But is it a cold or is it the flu?

"It is a lot of times tricky to tell patients whether it is the flu or a cold but there are some cardinal symptoms and signs," said CHI St. Vincent family practice Doctor Srini Ramaswami. "The first day some patients say, ‘doc I feel like I've been run over by a truck.’ That is more than likely the flu."

But what does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say?

On the CDC website, it’s noted that flu symptoms are abrupt and usually are feverish, achy and weak, with chills.

"Top three symptoms of the flu are a very high fever, 100.5, 101 or over, severe headache, severe body aches, joint pain," said Ramaswami.

But with a cold, the onset is gradual, with sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat listed as the primary symptoms according to the CDC’s website.

"Top three symptoms of a cold are more concentrated around the nose, sneezing, stuffy nose, and a sore throat," Ramaswami added.

Whatever your symptoms, the flu is widespread and contagious, enough for Governor Asa Hutchinson to hold a press conference with state health officials.

"Of these 94 flu-related deaths, 2 are children," the governor said. He urged everyone to be aware and if you have the flu, stay home.

If there's any doubt, get tested immediately. Doctors said the quicker you get treatment, the better off you will be.