Is it the flu or just a cold?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Do you feel bad? Do you think you have the flu? It is possible, but if you're still up and around, it's not likely. So, how do you can you tell whether it is a cold or the flu?

Doctors say everyone should get a flu shot. It lowers the risk of getting the illness up to 90 percent. That leaves 10 percent and those who refuse to be vaccinated prime targets. But it is cold season too.

"The flu typically hits very abruptly. Al of a sudden you have a high fever, muscle aches body aches there's a lot of nasal congestion and typically a lot of cough," says Dr. Michelle Flechas, OLOL Physician.

The aches and pains that come with the flu can make it next to difficult to even get out of bed.

"When you have a cold you may have a 99 degree fever, you have some congestion, you have some cough, but you can still get out of bed," said Dr. Flechas.

With over the counter meds, people with colds generally feel better in a day or so. Flu symptoms can last up to seven days, sometimes longer. So far, it has been a mild flu season in Louisiana.

"It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect, so if the flu isn't going to hit until the end of February, if you get your vaccine today, you're still protected," said Dr. Flechas.

The thing about mild flu seasons is that it can change anytime. Think of a flu shot as insurance for when or if it does.

According to the CDC, the number of flu cases in Texas has moved slightly ahead of what doctors are reporting here. With people traveling back and forth, it probably won't be too much longer until we start seeing an up tick in the illness here.

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