Flu Season Fact Check #1: Influenza versus the common cold

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The flu season is in full swing in the Brazos Valley and with it comes many misconceptions about the influenza virus and its vaccine. Brazos Valley This Morning is highlighting those big questions to provide the best information.

According to the Department of State Health Services, there have been more than 4,000 confirmed cases of influenza in Texas since October.

Many people think the flu is just another cold, but Dr. Seth Sullivan—an Infectious Disease Physician at Baylor Scott & White in College Station—says that's not the case.

"This is not just 'Hey, I've got a stuffy nose and I'm feeling okay otherwise,'" said Sullivan. "That is a cold, that’s very common. We see lots of that throughout the flu season, which is confusing; but influenza illness clinically manifests as a really high fever, cough, and feeling terrible aches all over your body."

Sullivan says it's important to talk to your doctor if you think you may have the flu.

“There are certain subsets who should be on medicine," said Sullivan. "And we need rest and we need time to hydrate and to get better during that time."

It's also important to stay at home and avoid spreading the disease to others with weaker immune systems.

"Most folks who are healthy otherwise can get the flu and can recover without medicine, but there are subsets of the population—those who are most vulnerable—who can die from the flu, or get severe, severe complications from the flu," said Sullivan.

Stay tuned to Brazos Valley This Morning every day this week as we continue to fact check common thoughts and ideas about the flu season.