Do you have the flu or just a cold? Here’s how to tell

DENVER -- Flu season is in full swing here in Colorado, but so is cold season. So, how do you know which one you have?

Providers at American Family Care say symptoms like fever, aches and chills are fairly common with the flu, but not as much with a cold.

Meanwhile, sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat are common for a cold, but not as much for the flu.

“With the flu, it’s sudden onset, usually a very high grade fever -- 101 or higher -- chest tightness or pressure, pain and a headache,” said Paul Mack, the Associate Medical Director.

In either case, he says prevention is key. Here are five tips to stay healthy:

  1. Don’t use public pens
  2. Don’t shake hands (fist bumps are fine)
  3. Use a paper towel to grab the gas pump
  4. Use your knuckles on the ATM keypad
  5. Don’t share your phone, tablet or computer

Providers say you should get in the habit of disinfecting your work area, because you don’t want the flu.

“It’s very serious. It can turn into pneumonia for normal people... high fevers that just knock you down,” Mack said.

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