The flu isn’t playing around. Experts say it’s been particularly severe, with more than 60,000 Americans testing positive for influenza since Oct. 1 (and that number will keep rising).
Why is this flu season so rough compared with some others? It all comes down to the type of flu that’s spreading, according to Margarita Rohr, a clinical instructor of medicine at New York University’s Langone Health.
“This season is different because H3N2 is the predominant strain of flu,” she told HuffPost. “This is important because historically, this strain of flu has been associated with higher intensity of symptoms, more frequent hospitalizations and deaths.”
Given that, the first signs of the sniffles might induce panic. But there are distinct differences between a run-of-the-mill cold and flu symptoms, and there are ways to manage both to get you feeling better as soon as possible.
Below, experts break down the warning signs that distinguish whether you’re dealing with the flu versus a cold, plus tips on how to nurse yourself back to health.