Spring flu? Common cold? Public health says it could be both

The flu is still active in Waterloo region, which could be the reason why it seems like a lot of people are sick lately. But despite what you might think, public health says it's not uncommon to see respiratory illnesses this this of year.

Public health has recorded 318 cases of the flu this so far this season

Influenza, also known as the flu, is the only respiratory illness that is reported to public health and normally sticks around from October to May.  (Shutterstock/ wavebreakmedia)

Just like the chilly weather, flu season is still holding on in Waterloo Region and it could be the reason why it seems like half of your office is home sick lately. 

Influenza, also known as the flu, is the only respiratory illness that is reported to public health. Commonly, flu season is said to run from October to May. 

Public health has so far recorded 318 cases tested and confirmed of the flu this season. 

Kristy Wright, manager of infectious disease for the region's Public Health Services, said those numbers are on par with what they have seen in the past and other respiratory illnesses, like the common cold, could also be contributing to the number of people who are sick.

"Around the province, flu activity [is] classified as moderate, so it's not surprising that we're seeing some illness in the community that people may not have sought medical attention for," she said.

"It's not unusual to see respiratory activity in to April and even into early to mid May."

Flu, cold, what is it?

People who got their flu shot early in the season could be losing some immunity to the flu as well, she adds.

But many people mix up whether they have the flu or a bad cold.

A cold usually involves more sneezing, coughing and a constant runny nose, while the flu has more pronounced symptoms like muscle aches, headache, a progressively worsening cough and fever. 

Wright says washing hands regularly, staying home when sick and sanitizing both your workspace and home go a long way to prevent both the cold and flu from spreading.