Misdiagnosis of Common cold


Distinguishing between cold and flu is not always easy but desirable because of newer antiviral flu medications. Generally, a cold is milder and a flu more severe, but there are exceptions. Flu will typically cause high fever, whereas a cold rarely does, and is usually mild if so. Flu also typically causes headache, body aches, fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, chest discomfort, and other symptoms that are uncommon or mild in a cold. Symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, and sneezing are more prominent in cold than flu, but can occur with either.

There are also other conditions that start like a cold such as whooping cough. Various allergies such as hay fever can also cause sneezing, runny nose, and stuffiness similar to a cold. Cold and flu are not the only respiratory viruses with other possibilities such as respiratory syncytial virus.

About misdiagnosis: When checking for a misdiagnosis of Common cold or confirming a diagnosis of Common cold, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Common cold may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Common cold. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.

Alternative diagnoses list for Common cold: For a diagnosis of Common cold, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Common cold:

Common cold as an alternative diagnosis: The other diseases for which Common cold is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Common cold: If symptoms occur often or last much longer than two weeks, they may be the result of an allergy rather than a cold.1

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Common cold: The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Common cold:

Misdiagnosis cases for Common cold: No cases available yet.

1. excerpt from The Common Cold, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID

Last revision: May 26, 2003

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