Site icon Emergency Room: SignatureCare Emergency Center 24-Hour ER

The Difference Between the Common Cold and the Flu

cold

There is a difference between the cold and the flu, and the ways to treat them

Many people think common cold and the flu are the same respiratory illness. Some others mix up the symptom and say they have a flu when it is in fact common cold. Even though the symptoms are quite similar, common cold and the flu are caused by different viruses.

The flu is a more critical illness than common cold. Cold often comes with runny nose while the flu has more complicated effects.

The myth that cold is caused by exposure to cold weather is untrue. There are viruses that are responsible for common cold and flu outbreak. However, a cold environment or over exposure to cold can leave you feeling uneasy and sicker if you have been infected with thee illnesses.

Identifying and differentiating them properly will help in diagnosis as well as proper treatment. 

Knowing the Difference

As earlier established, knowing the difference between these two illness will help you treat yourself more effectively. It will be sad to be treating one when you are actually suffering from the other. There are certain features that are particular to each of them. Some key identifiers can help you know if you are suffering from a common cold or a flu.

Causes –

Common cold is known to be caused by several types of viruses. However the most common is rhinoviruses. The virus is spread when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or talks. It can be contaminated through the eyes, nose and mouth.

If you share objects like utensils or have contact with people who are infected, you’re also likely to get the virus. The Flu is caused by the Influenza virus which can be of type A, B or C. The type A and B cause the periodical outbreak while type C causes less critical symptoms.

The type A virus also affects animals but type B can only be found in humans. Like the common cold, the flu is contacted when you come in contact with stuff used by infected persons that have been contaminated with virus. You can also get it through kissing.

Symptoms –

Common cold usually shows up with sore throat and is then followed by nasal congestion, runny nose and a cough by the fourth or fifth day. Sometimes a fever might follow, but this is rare in adults but more likely in kids.

The flu usually shows up with headache, fever, cough and chest discomfort, sore throat and runny nose as well as fatigue. Unlike common cold, the flu shows up abruptly as persons having it begin to feel all these symptoms. The flu could develop into pneumonia and sometimes death.

Treating Common Cold and the Flu

You should get a lot of rest while treating these illnesses. Also take a lot of fluids to purify your system and aid in faster recovery. You can also visit pharmacies for common cold drugs.

It is also wise to avoid buying too many over the counter drugs. Home remedies can help control symptoms of cold too. A sore throat can be helped by gargling with salt and warm water in your throat. Putting your head over steam can help relieve stuffed nostrils. Eat ginger, lemon and honey to also manage your cold. Ensure to see the doctor if symptoms still persist or are very serious and disturbing.

lemon and tea

Lemon and honey in tea can be a soothing cold remedy

Preventing the Cold and Flu

As the popular saying goes, prevention is better than cure. It is particularly wise to try to prevent the occurrence of the common cold because there is no known abrupt cure.

The viruses usually live through their time, but can be managed and prevented from staying longer and causing more harm. Here are some tips to have thesesicknesses far from you.

  1. Eat healthy: it appears eating good food is a remedy to a lot of things but it is the truth. Eat balanced diet, ensure your vitamin and fluid intake is maximum. You can also take yoghurts once in a while. They help in preventing contamination of these viruses.
  2. Avoid Contact With Infected Persons: We get how much you love your friends and family but please, be careful if anyone of them has the flu. This is mostly crucial during the first three days as this is when the virus can be easily spread. You can also imbibe good hygiene to avoid coming down with a cold too.
  3. Practice Cleanliness: Knowing that these viruses are gotten when you use your hands or any part of the body to touch objects that have the virus on them and bring them to your eyes, nose or mouth, it is wise to wash your hands frequently.
  4. Touch your eyes, nose and mouth less frequently: since these viruses are contacted via the ears, nose and mouth, it is wise to not touch them too frequently. You will be doing yourself a whole lot of good.

Health Care specialists diagnose cold and flu by using special testing techniques. Mot common one is the rapid influenza diagnostic test. This usually takes about 30mins to complete.

There is a vaccine available for reduce the probability of getting the influenza virus. However, due to the fact that there are over 200 viruses that could cause common cold, there is no available vaccine for this. It is necessary to have this basic knowledge about the differentiating factors of common cold and the flu.

Simply put, if the symptoms come gradually and are less acute, you have probably got a cold. If there is a rush of severe symptoms, it is the flu. Know their differences and jump into action immediately.

Exit mobile version