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Learn about cold and flu

Cold and Flu

Highly contagious, but rarely life-threatening

The common cold and flu (influenza) are both infections of the upper respiratory system. While both have many of the same symptoms, a cold is usually of shorter duration and is not considered a serious medical condition.

Flu symptoms last longer and typically include a fever. If symptoms of the flu progress, they may lead to other serious illnesses requiring hospitalization, particularly for children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Both the cold and flu are highly contagious. The virus can be passed through food, beverages and contaminated objects such as door knobs or shopping carts. If a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches his/her nose, mouth or eyes, the infection is then spread through the mucous membranes. The cold and flu are also considered to be airborne infections meaning they can infect someone who inhales after a cough or sneeze in their vicinity.


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