Cold and Flu Overview
Want to learn some basic tips that will help prevent the cold or flu from from making you sick? The Trusty Guide to Cold and Flu lays out the latest research on how to arm yourself against the bug before you get it and how to deal with it if you do. Here is brief overview of what you will find in the guide:
|What is a cold?
- A cold is a mild viral infection of the upper respiratory system.
- A cold is caused by a virus, a microbe which cannot live on its own so it infects the cells of other living beings.
- There are over 200 viruses that can cause a cold, the most common being the rhinovirus.
|What is the flu?
- A flu, like a cold, is caused by a virus.
- A flu is much more serious than a cold. It is potentially deadly.
- The flu virus changes often, but comes in three basic forms or strains: A, B, or C.
|What are the symptoms?
- Cold symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, mild fever, mild headache and body aches, sneezing, coughing and congestion.
- Flu symptoms include many of the same symptoms as a cold, but also high fever, more severe aches and pains, chills and sweats, severe sore throat and fatigue.
- Fever, chills, severe fatigue and aches are also the symptoms which most distinguish infection by a flu virus from infection by a cold virus.
|How do I treat a cold?
Take an Over the Counter medication to make yourself more comfortable by easing symptoms.
- There is no cure for the common cold. You can simply ease the symptoms while you have a cold.
- Get plenty of rest and fluids
|How do I treat the flu?
- Like the cold, there is no single “cure” for the flu. Look to ease symptoms while you have the flu.
- Because the symptoms are similar, many of the treatments that work to ease cold symptoms also ease flu symptoms.
- See a doctor if your symptoms include trouble breathing, faintness or very high fever.
|How do I prevent colds and flus?
- A good, healthy lifestyle including adequate sleep, moderate exercise and a balanced diet will help keep you and your immune system strong.
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your mouth and nose with your hands.
- Avoid crowded places during the peak of cold and flu season.
|What should I know about the flu vaccine?
- The flu vaccine comes in two forms: injection and nasal mist.
- The vaccine is not 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, but is generally believed to be about 70 to 90 percent effective.
- Because the flu virus is constantly changing, you must get the flu vaccine every year, preferably at the beginning of flu season, in order for it to be most effective.
Read on to learn more about the difference between a cold and the flu.