Where does #manflu fit in this? The difference between a head cold and influenza

One of my pet peeves is when the media contracts a scientific or established official name into something very shorthand. In my mind it’s disrespectful to the people who investigated the microorganism and the disease. To be fair, it’s not something I’m going to sacrifice myself over, after all it’s just a peeve and nothing more. What is more annoying is when we see this creep into official writing, but again, it’s more peeve and annoyance and I have no real influence on anyone but myself.

So in this post I’ll accept manflu as a word but rather than use the common shorthand of flu I will always prefer influenza.

The Internet (Oh how I love the Internet) is replete with descriptions and short videos on manflu, all you need to do is go to YouTube and search manflu for some very funny video clips.

My concern today is the difference between the common cold and influenza. You hear it so often in the workplace. Someone takes a call from an ill colleague who has called in to say they have the influenza. The vast majority of people who call in sick have a common cold. When you’re infected with an Influenza virus you will know it.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has in its emergency management planning a really nice table describing the difference. It references the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US.

Symptoms of influenza and the common cold

Symptom Influenza Common cold
Fever Often high, lasting 3 to 4 days Rare
Headache Frequent Rare
Aches and pains Common; can be severe Slight
Cough Common; can become severe Sometimes; mild to moderate
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Runny nose Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Shivering Common Rare
Physical capacity Frequently bedridden Normal
Energy levels May show moderate to extreme signs of weakness A littler lower than usual
Complications Pneumonia, kidney failure and heart failure. Can be life-threatening Sinus or ear infection

Does manflu exist? Of course not. It’s just the common cold. That hasn’t stopped me tweeting about it though when I’m suffering :-)