When you are not feeling well it can become difficult to distinguish if you have a common cold or a mild flu. There are certain symptoms present in both, but by asking oneself if you have the onset of particular symptoms can help to figure out which ailment you are suffering from. Cold symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and congestion; flu symptoms include body aches, fever and headache.
Cold and flu are both respiratory infections, but are caused by different viruses. There are over 200 distinct viruses that can cause a cold, whereas the flu is caused by only a few viruses (referred to as influenza viruses).
As a general rule, the flu tends to be more intense than the common cold. It can be important to know if you have the flu because it is more likely to lead to serious complications, including pneumonia or bacterial infection which may require hospitalization.
Common symptoms shared by both cold and flu are fever, drippy nose, feeling fatigue, headache and body aches. Since these symptoms overlap it can be difficult to identify if you have a cold or flu. Symptoms that are more prominent in colds are runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing and a mild fever (below 102 degrees Fahrenheit).Cold symptoms tend to develop gradually. Symptoms that indicate flu include high fever (above 102 degrees Fahrenheit), nausea, chills, body aches, excessive sweating, and lack of appetite. Flu symptoms can occur suddenly without warning.
The best way to prevent the common cold or flu is hand washing. These viruses are caused by germs and by washing your hands those germs are killed and therefore cannot be passed on. Proper hand washing should take 20 seconds with soap or an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Maintaining your immune system is also a good way to prevent the common cold and flu. This can be achieved by eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, exercising and making sure you get enough sleep.
Getting the flu vaccine can also prevent onset of the flu. There are two different kinds of immunization against the flu including traditional flu shots and the nasal spray vaccine.
Influenza virus (commonly known as the flu) is a disease caused by virus that can spread from one person to another through small drops of saliva that are expelled into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also be passed through contact with objects the infected person has touched, such as a door handle, hand railings or other surfaces.
Nasal influenza virus vaccine is used to prevent infection caused by influenza virus. The vaccine is redeveloped each year to contain specific strains of activated flu virus based on recommendations by public health officials for that year.
Influenza virus vaccine works by exposing you to a very small amount of the virus, which in turn helps your body to develop immunity to the disease. The Influenza virus vaccine if designed for the prevention of the virus and therefore will not treat an active infection that has already developed. The vaccine does have minor side effects including headache and nausea.
Nasal influenza virus vaccine is used for children and adults, between the ages of 2 and 49 years old.
The vaccine is very safe and is much less dangerous than becoming infected with influenza, Each year the influenza virus is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and even causes thousands of deaths each year.
Although very effective, the influenza virus vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person due to each person having a different genetic makeup.
Most often cold and flus work themselves throughout the body so visiting a doctor is not necessary. To treat the flu or cold at home one should get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and use over-the-counter medication to treat specific symptoms as your body fights off the infection. If your symptoms do become severe, do not go away or you have a pre-existing health condition, a visit to the doctor is in order. Whether you have a cold or the flu, expect your symptoms to stick around for about 7 to 10 days. If your case of the flu is severe or the symptoms are persistent your doctor may put you on Antiviral drugs to help speed up recovery.