Is it flu or the common cold?

Mayo Clinic doctor describes the difference

Published On: Mar 12 2013 01:03:12 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 12 2013 12:54:00 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

February is when flu typically peaks, but we’ve already had a deadly season with unusually high number of flu cases.

But how can you tell if you have the flu and not just a bad cold?

"What are of the symptoms of influenza? They are not nausea and vomiting and diarrhea. They are sore throat, cough, high fever, muscle aches, severe muscle and join aches that literally drive you to bed with a lot of fatigue," said Dr. Art Vandelee with the Mayo Clinic. "You develop those symptoms? What we would say is go in and see your doctor in that first 24-48 hours, because that’s really the key time period in which the anti-virals that we have are really effective."

Since the hands are the most common way to spread the flu virus, experts say the best way to avoid getting the flu is to simply practice good hygiene.

For more information on the flu or answers to any of your health questions, visit MayoClinic.com.