Difference Between Cold and Flu? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
The flu and the common cold are both types of upper respiratory infections (URIs). Both are caused by viruses. But the flu is not the same as the common cold. 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.
Flu symptoms are usually much worse than a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and lasts longer. Symptoms may include:
- Shaking chills
- Body aches
- Feeling very tired
The symptoms usually are the worst for the first 3 or 4 days. In most healthy people, the flu will go away in 5 to 7 days. But it can take 1 to 2 weeks to get completely better. The flu usually occurs during the late fall and winter.
Cold symptoms usually come on over the course of a couple of days. Symptoms may include:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Red eyes
- Sore throat and cough
- Body aches
Colds usually last 1 to 2 weeks. As the cold gets worse, your nose may get stuffy with thicker mucus. You can catch a cold at any time of year, but they are more common in late winter and early spring.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ER of Texas Emergency Rooms in the DFW area
Health Care specialists diagnose cold and flu by using special testing techniques. Most 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. ER of Texas has top-rated emergency rooms in the DFW area. All of our facilities are open 24/7. We diagnose and treat most medical emergencies. We accept walk-ins – No appointment is needed.