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How to tell the difference between a cold and the flu

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many people have common colds now, and the flu is showing a little uptick in our area. So how do you know the difference between the two? Just remember the word "FACTS".

Eric Fite figures he got more than gifts from relatives over Christmas. He now has a common cold.

"I can still function. It's just a head cold essentially," said Fite.

Common cold symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, congestion and a little rise in temperature.

"They're in the 99, maybe maximum 100 range, so we're seeing a lot of that right now," said Dr. Fariha Shafi of Truman Medical Centers.

Dr. Shafi said the flu is different. An easy way to remember flu symptoms is to think of the word "FACTS".

"F" is for fever.

"People generally have fevers that are more than 100.4, 101," said Dr. Shafi.

"A" is for achiness.

"You will feel it in your muscles and bones. Everything aches. Everything hurts."

"C" is for chills.

"T" is for tiredness which can be unlike anything you've had before.

"S" is for sudden onset. It's not like a cold which worsens over a few days.

Dr. Shafi said "S" can also stand for severe. She said not everyone needs to take antiviral medicine such as Tamiflu with the onset of flu, but those at moderate to high risk of complications should get a prescription quickly.

"Pregnant women, the very young, the very old, people that have a lot of other chronic ailments that would decrease their immune system."

The medicine can shorten the illness and help to decrease the chance of complications.

Dr. Shafi said many of us call illnesses the flu that really aren't. If you have stomach issues, that's not the flu.