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While the flu has similar symptoms as a the common cold—sore throat, cough, and a runny nose—the flu can result in far more devastating consequences. This is especially true among seniors, who can experience hospitalization or even death. Between 2010 and 2016, a range of 12,000 to 56,000 people died every year because of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many of them were people over the age of 65.


No matter the type of influenza virus you contract, the symptoms are pretty similar—though they vary in severity. Symptoms of the flu include

  • Constant cough
  • Runny nose
  • Fever (for seniors, a body temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit), though this may not always occur
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramps or aches
  • Headaches
  • Stomach issues that may result in diarrhea or vomiting

You May Just Have the Cold

Just because you have these symptoms does not mean you have the flu. You may be suffering from the common cold, which has similar symptoms, but is far less fatal and severe. Typically, the common cold doesn’t get more severe than a stuffy nose and a light fever. It usually only lasts a few days, too. Any symptoms more severe than that (persistent headaches, vomiting, etc.) or lasting longer than two to three days should be treated immediately, as you may have the flu.

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