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      Is it the cold or flu?

      The flu season is upon us, and that's got some of our facebook viewers asking, how do you know if you've got the flu or just a common cold? The difference between the two really comes down to the intensity of the symptoms experienced.

      Based on those factors, it's best to either seek a medical professional as soon as possible or simply wait a few days and see if they clear up.

      It starts small, with a cough or maybe a runny nose, but how can you tell if you're dealing with a common cold and not something more serious?

      "Influenza carries with it the potential for greater problems especially for those very young or very old," says Dr. Wayne Carlson.

      Doctors say you've got to take a close look at the symptoms you're developing. If you've got a high fever, dry cough and body aches, you may have influenza. But if your symptoms are comprehensive, but less intense like a runny nose, slight cough and a low grade fever, you may have the common cold.

      What you notice should guide your next move to recovery.

      "If the symptoms are more acute and intense, we recommend that some contact with their practitioner is made," Dr. Carlson said.

      Antibiotics aren't generally given to treat a common cold, but doctors may supply anti-viral drugs to some patients suffering from the flu, but they only work for the first few days of the illness. Doctors suggest calling an office for their opinion if you're concerned about your symptoms.

      But if you're looking for over-the-counter drugs to treat uncomfortable symptoms of the cold or flu, pharmacists say you should direct your attention to the products that are aimed at treating your most noticeable symptoms.

      Some, like Facebook viewer Tracy Strong, say there are quick fixes to nip illness at the bud, writing: "Airborne is like a miracle cure--dissolve it in some water and drink, it works great."

      Professionals say, you can't be too sure.

      "It'll help boost your immune system, but it's not something that I usually suggest is going to be very effective, but it's also not something that will hurt," says Registered Pharmacist Tyler Jenema of Peninsula Pharmacy in Marquette.

      It's important to remember that both the cold and flu are equally contagious illnesses. Another major difference between the two is you can avoid the flu by getting a seasonal flu shot.