Health Spotlight: H1N1, the seasonal flu, or a common cold?

As we move closer to the start of fall our UVA community can expect the number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases and other illnesses to rise. Most of us know that sickness is common around this time of year as everything gets colder, damper and those strong cold winds blow through The Ville. But how can you tell if you’ve come down with swine flu, the common cold, or seasonal influenza? Well I’m no expert but spoke with some experts on infectious diseases and here’s what they say.

Infectious disease experts say people need to be aware of the symptoms. Dr. Shmuel Shoham, an infectious-disease specialist at Washington Hospital Center, says the common cold, seasonal flu and H1N1 are all respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by different viruses.

Symptoms of the cold are more common, and can make the patient miserable for three to five days. A patient usually has a stuffy nose, congestion, some body aches and a growing cough.

According to the CDC seasonal flu and H1N1 symptoms consist of fever, more painful body aches, dry cough, diarrhea and severe fatigue. It’s hard, without testing, to tell apart the seasonal strain of flu from the H1N1 variety.


It should also be noted that the people at greatest risk to catch swine flu are people ages 6 months to 25 years, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease. Point is this…switch. wants the community to stay as healthy as possible, wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, COVER YOUR MOUTH when you cough, and if you ARE SICK (and choose to be out and about) be polite, don’t run around shaking hands with everyone (it spreads germs)!

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