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What Ails You: Cold, Flu, or Something Else?

With flu season in full swing, it’s important to know what ails you (so you can help stop the spread by staying home). But how do you really know if you have the flu—swine or seasonal—or if it’s just another cold or an allergy? Use our handy sympt-o-meter.
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Seasonal flu

Key symptom: Fever that comes on fast

Best fix: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

If your fever hits 101°F or 102°F and comes with chest discomfort plus major aches and exhaustion, it’s probably the seasonal flu, says Neil Schachter MD, author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu. Take pain pills for fever and aches, rest, and drink lots of liquids. Those at high risk—pregnant, elderly, or chronically ill—may need antiviral meds such as Tamiflu or Relenza.

Next: Swine flu or H1N1

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