Do you know the main differences between a cold and the flu?

30 September 2019

You have a runny nose, your throat is scratchy and your head is pounding. Is it just a cold or do you have the flu? As the flu and cold seasons are upon us, many are left wondering about the differences between the two. While both are respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses.

Therefore, it is useful to know the differences between the flu and a cold so that you can take the necessary precautions.

A cold is a milder respiratory infection

A cold is an upper respiratory viral infection. It is caused by more than 100 different viruses. Colds are among the most common illnesses, this explains why often it is designated as « common cold ». Colds symptoms are usually milder than the flu. Colds often start with a scratchy or sore throat or discomfort in the nose, followed by sneezing, a runny nose, a cough, and a general feeling of illness. At first, secretions from the nose are watery and clear and can be annoyingly plentiful, but eventually, they become thicker, opaque, yellow-green, and less plentiful. While colds are unpleasant, they rarely last long. Symptoms usually disappear in 4 to 10 days, although the cough often lasts into the second week.
On the other hand, flu symptoms may come 1 to 4 days after infection and can begin abruptly and can be more severe. These include dry, hacking cough, moderate to high fever, sore throat, shaking chills, severe muscle or body aches, headache and fatigue are often severe. Fatigue may last for up to 3 weeks.

Colds and flu are contagious

One of the main similarities between a cold and the flu is that they are both contagious. They are easily spread from one person to another by droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, touching or direct bodily contact.

Can the flu and a cold be prevented?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely prevent flu or colds. But good and healthy habits like washing your hands properly and covering your cough or sneeze can help stop the spread of germs and viruses.
It is also important to keep your surroundings clean. After all, it takes only a tiny droplet of the virus to infect you and your family. Your body needs plenty of fluids and vitamins to fend off cold germs and the flu virus. Staying hydrated all day long may help boost a particular immune response and keep you protected.

If you do start to feel flu-like symptoms coming on, look to keep Oscillococcinum readily available. At the onset of symptoms, take Oscillo to relieve body aches, headache, fever, and chills and reduce the duration of flu symptoms.
For colds and cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and rhinitis (acute, recurrent, infectious or allergic), try Coryzalia.* This homeopathic medicine is available in drinkable unit-doses for babies and children as well as chewable tablets for adults.

*NOTICE – This claim is based on traditional homeopathic references and not modern scientific evidence.
These homeopathic medicines may not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.

Sources:
1. Merck Manual for the Consumer, https://www.merckmanuals.com/en-ca/home

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