Many times, the symptoms of the common cold and those of the flu are usually similar, but to really know the differences between the common cold and the flu you can base yourself on this series of tips and signs that we will provide below.
Sneezing, nasal congestion, eye irritation, sleepiness, fever, sore throat, and sore muscles are signs of the common cold and flu season, which knock us out especially in winter.
Winning the war against the common cold or flu are long-standing battles. However, if you follow these tips, you could have a good chance of relief.
Common cold or flu?
First, some basics about the common cold and flu. Both are viral respiratory infections that affect the nose, throat, and lungs. Common colds are caused by more than 200 different viruses (between types and subtypes), while seasonal flu (influenza subtypes A, B, and C) is caused by a few strains of viruses that result in local outbreaks each year.
When does the common cold and flu occur?
The seasons of maximum incidence of colds or common cold are autumn and winter, and those of the flu, winter. Many times, the changes in the season make people confuse a flu picture with an allergy, although it is also easy to confuse the cold with the flu, since they often present similar symptoms.
Differences in the duration of the common cold and flu
A comparison: the common cold can start slowly, and usually lasts seven days, although sometimes it takes up to ten days to disappear. The flu can start suddenly, strike you down and last more than 10 days. This depending on the general conditions of the patient and the type of flu contracted, since not all flu have the same life span.
Symptoms of the common cold and flu
In addition to the listed symptoms, the common cold and the flu share similarities in symptoms, although they can vary from each other by the intensity they occur each time, the symptoms in the flu can be stronger and occur more quickly. These can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, otitis media, and abdominal pain. The fever can last up to three days, but you will feel weak and tired for a week or two if the condition is the flu.
How to avoid getting the common cold or the flu
Forget what your mother said about her getting sick because she went out with wet hair or without a coat, because neither the common cold nor the flu comes from that cause; however, according to Dr. Daniel Pryluka, infectious disease physician at the Vélez Sársfield Hospital, in Buenos Aires, “the virus develops better in the cold. There are changes in cell function that favor the appearance of these viruses; It is not that the cells recognize the season, but certain modifications do occur —such as greater dryness in the mucous membranes— that favor this change. In addition, the possibility of contagion is much greater in cold times, when we live in crowded conditions, in hyper-heated environments, with less ventilation and with less time of exposure to the open air”. So, it doesn’t hurt to take precautions during the cold season.
Where do the flu come from?
Colds and flu come from viruses that are spread by micro-droplets that travel through the air, from person to person, every time someone infected sneezes or coughs. Viruses can also be spread by touching an infected surface – such as a chair or hand – and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
On average, adults catch colds between one and four times and children six to eight times a year. If the boy also attends nursery school, then upper respiratory infections are very common: “That is, they almost always have mucus, and two or three times a month they will have some lines of fever. At home the pictures are more widely spaced but also frequent”, says Dr. Charlotte Russ, from the Argentine Society of Pediatrics (SAP).
The best defense is good hygiene. This means washing your hands frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfecting shared surfaces, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Although most people recover from the flu, this disease causes annual hospitalizations and deaths, affecting 15 percent of the adult population, 40 percent of children and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 5 and 20 percent of the world’s population.
What helps when the flu virus is ravaging our bodies?
– No antibiotics, since they do not work with viruses – unless the viral picture leads to infections. Rest, as fatigue can prolong symptoms, and go to the kitchen before the pharmacy.
– Drink plenty of fluids (8 to 12 glasses of water, herbal teas or natural juices a day). The flu usually causes dehydration, so it is recommended to drink a liter more than the normal daily consumption. In addition, it will help you to have a greater fluidity of secretions.
– For a sore throat, gargle with astringent solutions (sea salt or bicarbonate with warm water) to remove the microorganisms that are in the mouth and soothe the pain; or, with lemon and honey, which help to dilute the phlegm. It is also useful to moisten the environment with a vaporizer (cool or warm mist).
– In the case of boys, they try to lower the fever; ingesting a lot of fluids is indicated and is observed with expectant behavior. In 24 to 48 hours, the fever curve usually goes down and the child improves. They heal in two or three days. If this does not happen, it will be necessary to evaluate if there are complications that require other studies.
When to go to the doctor
You should avoid cold and flu complications, such as bacterial infections of the sinuses or lungs. Therefore, you should see a doctor if:
- Throat irritation lasts for more than two days, or if the throat is red, swollen, and covered with pus.
- You have a runny nose that lasts more than 10 days, or is green or yellow.
- You have severe headaches or pain in your face; earaches or fluid leaking from them.
- You have a cough that lasts longer than 7 to 10 days, or is accompanied by green or bloody mucus.
- You have a high fever (above 38°C) that lasts for more than 4 days, or a high fever that returns between 4 and 14 days.
- You have trouble breathing or are wheezing.
- There is muscle and bone pain.
- Other signs that warrant a visit to the doctor in children include vomiting, severe diarrhea, a severe cough, or unusual lethargy.
Natural remedies for the flu or common cold
Natural remedies to treat and alleviate the symptoms of the common cold or flu are ancient ways to treat these symptoms, you can choose to make an herbal spray to reduce fever, you will find on our site an excellent recipe to kill a cold. You can’t stop eating well and consuming fluids during a cold or flu, so better than preparing an onion and garlic soup for the flu. If the flu symptoms are very long-lasting, you can see how to recover quickly from a flu or relapse.
When you have the flu, do you have to go to work or school?
Each organism will indicate whether it can concentrate and be productive, but it is wise to stay home in case of fever or if you do not stop sneezing or coughing; this usually happens during the first few days of a cold.
When it comes to the flu, you may have to go five to seven days; This depends on your age and any complicating factors, so talk to your doctor. Beyond the need for relief, think about your co-workers, your neighbors, and your friends as well. Or, if your child is sick, in his classmates.