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How Do You Know If You Have THE Flu?

Cold? Flu? Something Else?

You’re tired, have a stuffy nose and a sore throat. But how do you figure out if it’s a cold, the flu or allergies?

“The symptoms of all three are extremely similar,” says Dr. Susan Even, the Health Center’s executive director. “But some symptoms are present in one illness more than another. Let’s talk about a fever. This is more associated with flu, less with colds and not at all with allergies.”

How fast the symptoms appear is a good indication of what it might be. “You’re fine when you step into class, but by the end you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck,” Even says. “That would be the flu.”

Colds typically start off slow — mild sniffles or cough — and build to the full-on symptoms. Allergies tend to be more seasonal. For allergies and flu you can watch the news for local pollen counts and regional flu outbreaks.