Cold and flu share very similar symptoms – a cough, a sore throat, a headache and raised temperature. But the two illnesses are actually very different and one is considered more serious than the other. A cold can be treated at home without seeing your GP, and usually lasts around a week or two. The flu can also be treated at home without seeing your doctor, and you should feel better in around a week. But the flu, in extreme consequences, can have deadly consequences.
Dr Chris, took to the ITV show to help people tell the difference between cold and flu.
One of these differences is a cold tends to come on gradually, whereas flu comes on quite rapidly.
But there’s an even clearer way to tell the difference, according to the TV doctor, which involves the “tenner test”.
If you see a ten pound note on the ground, depending which illness you have, your reaction will be very different.
Dr Chris said: “If you’ve got the flu you’ll just leave it there – you cannot be bothered to get it.
“And if you’ve got a cold, you’ll get it.”
Your pharmacist can help you treat your cold or flu, and you can prevent flu in particular by having the flu vaccine.
But Dr Chris recommended some treatments you can try at home to help clear up your symptoms.
He said: “If you’re sneezing and coughing, do this into a tissue, bin it and wash your hands.”
Dr Chris added that nasal decongestants can help shrink swollen tissue inside the nose.
But you shouldn’t use these for more than seven days as you can get “rebound congestion”.
Herbal tea, a hot lemon and honey or a hot toddy can help ease the throat.
While these remedies are said to be effective for a lot of people, Dr Chris said there’s only one treatment with scientific studies to show it works – salt in water.
He advised: “Do half a teaspoon of salt, half a cup of water, gargle with that three times a day.”
Dr Chris also suggested using this in the nose, but warned this can be difficult.
To do this, block one nostril, inhale the salt water through the other nostril, let it trickle into the mouth, but don’t swallow the mixture.
Flu has been making its rounds across the UK this winter and was reported to have a particularly devastating impact in Southampton.