Do I Have a Common Cold or the Flu?

Common cold and the flu are completely different diseases but they have similar symptoms and require bed rest. It’s very important to determine the disease in time in order to start proper treatment. So how to distinguish the flu from a common cold?

Do I Have a Common Cold or the Flu_

How to recognize the flu?

Flu has specific symptoms that make it difficult to confuse with a common cold:

  • Temperature: with the flu, the temperature raises up to 102.2-104°F degrees from the first hours. With a cold, the temperature is usually not higher than 101.3°F degrees;
  • The speed of development: the flu develops at lightning speed. With a cold, the symptoms increase gradually;
  • The first symptoms: With the flu – a person has ache throughout the body, headache, photophobia, weakness, chills, high fever, which is barely reduced by drugs. With a cold – a person experiences a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, the temperature is low and is easily relieved by antipyretic drugs.
  • Sneezing is common to a cold, but it is NOT typical of the flu;
  • Recovery period: in the absence of complications, a common cold goes away within a few days, the flu in the active stage goes away within 1.5-2 weeks, and about 2 weeks can be spent on recuperation.

There are several degrees of severity of the flu. Its easiest degree can be mistaken for a cold, so sometimes you have to have medical tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Dangers of the wrong treatment

Flu and its complications are especially dangerous for people over 65, preschoolers and pregnant women. In addition, it can be dangerous for asthmatics, diabetics, people with cardiovascular diseases, diseases of the liver, kidneys and lungs, as well as those who often take aspirin.

Complications of influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections, as a rule, are bacterial in nature. The inflammatory process can affect the respiratory system, heart, and even the brain. Therefore, it is necessary to coordinate the intake of drugs with your doctor and accurately follow his recommendations.

Natural remedies are  not always safe

With flu and colds, people often use the “grandmother’s” methods: warm socks, raspberry jam, warming drinks with ginger and cinnamon, breathe over steam and eat many oranges. Sometimes these techniques give relief, but sometimes it only gets worse. Let’s find out how it works:

  • Hot drink and warm clothes. A common cold is often accompanied by chills: you want to wrap up in seven layers and close all the windows in the house. But you should not warm yourself at elevated temperatures: it will only get worse. Food and drink should be at room temperature. It is better to take off socks or wear thin cotton ones. A warm blanket should be replaced by a lighter one. And it is very important to ventilate the room every 2-3 hours. This will help reduce the concentration of viruses and create a healthy microclimate;
  • Warming spices. Ginger, cinnamon are popular spices that many people add to winter drinks. However, they should also be discarded at elevated temperatures. Otherwise, the heat will increase;
  • Citrus. With a sore throat and dry cough, sour food increases irritation of the mucous membrane and becomes even more unpleasant. If the listed symptoms do not bother you, vitamin C is only for the benefit of the immune system;
  • Steam inhalation. You should not breathe over potatoes or herbal decoction if you have an elevated body temperature, a tendency to nasal bleeding, cardiovascular diseases, as well as with purulent complications of a common cold.

A modern approach to treatment

In order for the treatment to bring only benefit, it must be prescribed by a doctor. Otherwise, therapy may be ineffective and worsen the condition.

Modern tactics of treatment of a common cold imply the full support of the body. Both symptomatic agents (antipyretic, cough and cold remedies) and antiviral drugs are used to alleviate the general condition and prevent complications. Often, as part of the complex treatment of acute respiratory viral infections in adults and children over 6 years old, doctors prescribe medication that is aimed at enhancing the production of protective proteins in the body. the drug creates a barrier against viruses, preventing the “invaders” from settling on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, penetrating inside healthy cells and multiplying in them.

During their short life cycle, viruses manage to significantly clog up the human body with toxins. Because of this, weakness, fatigue and headache can occur. Taking certain medicines can help to more quickly eliminate toxins and, accordingly, alleviate unpleasant symptoms.

For treatment to be effective, bed rest and good nutrition will be required. The food should be light and have a delicate texture: mashed potatoes, cream soups, chicken broth, soft-boiled eggs, jelly and dried fruit compote. A sick person should drink lots of fluids but they should not be hot.

Proper nutrition, good sleep and a complex therapy chosen by a doctor are the basis for successful treatment without unnecessary complications.

Category: Healthcare

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