What Else Can I Do To Prevent Getting Colds And The Flu
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcoholic hand wipes. Cold and flu viruses are spread by touching your nose or mouth after touching an infected person, breathing in the air of an infected person’s sneeze or cough, or touching objects that have come in contact with the virus and then touching your nose.
Other prevention tips are to eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of liquids , and avoid close contact with people who have colds. Also, get an annual flu vaccine.
Flu Symptoms Hit Fast
The flu will often surprise you with how quickly symptoms begin, and how serious the illness can become. Classically, the flu starts with a sudden onset of fever, chills, muscles aches, mild headache and fatigue. You may have other symptoms like a runny nose and cough, too. You feel lousy and you feel lousy fast.
How long does the flu last?
Flu onset usually happens about one to four days after infection, and symptoms typically last five to seven days. However, fatigue can stick around for a few extra days.
How long does a cold last?
A cold comes on gradually and will usually last longer than the flu. Cold germs are contagious for the first three days. And while your cough and congestion can last up to three weeks, other cold symptoms that last more than a week such as fever, chest discomfort or sinus pain may be a sign of a bacterial or sinus infection.
If you experience long-lasting symptoms, dont ignore them. Talk with a doctor. They can help diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment plan.
Learn How To Distinguish Covid
As COVID-19 remains prevalent in the U.S. and our community, many people have questions about the differences between the cold, the flu and the coronavirus how to know which of these viruses you have and when to seek medical attention. Although the cold, the flu and COVID-19 viruses have many similarities, there are also some important differences you need to know. Keep reading for more information.
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How Long Do Cold Symptoms Last
Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.
If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.
Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis or a sinus infection. If cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.
Whats The Difference Between The Common Cold The Flu Rsv And Covid
They are triggered by different viruses.
- The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which is seen worldwide and has a seasonal cycle in temperate regions, typically starting in the fall and lasting through the spring. It leads to high fevers, coughing, body aches and other respiratory symptoms.
- The common cold, on the other hand, is caused by the rhinovirus and comes with milder symptoms: a runny nose, slight cough. Although everybody experiences illnesses differently, in most cases, if you have a cold youre still able to function, whereas with the flu you may not.
- RSV, meanwhile, is a result of the respiratory syncytial virus, which can affect the respiratory system, including the nose, throat and lungs. In most people, the virus will present like a colda cough, runny nose and sometimes a feverbut in some it can be dangerous. In infants, RSV can cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis, and people over the age of 50 or those with heart or lung disease are also at risk for complications.
- COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and is more serious because of the higher mortality rate. Its characterized by fevers, cough, runny nose, body aches, and loss of taste and smell. For the most part, children seem to fare much better than adults if they get the coronavirus, but families should still be extra cautious.
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What Are Other Ways To Treat And Prevent The Flu
Antiviral prescription medicines and an annual flu vaccine are available for treating and preventing the flu.
Prescription anti-flu medicines include amantadine , rimantadine , zanamivir and oseltamivir . These drugs do not cure the flu, but they can make the symptoms milder and make you feel better more quickly. They are only effective when used in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
These drugs are not needed for healthy people who get the flu. They are usually reserved for people who are very sick with the flu or those who are at risk of complications from the flu, such as people with long-term chronic medical conditions or older age.
Flu vaccine . Although there is currently no vaccine against the common cold, there is a vaccine to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works by exposing the immune system to the viruses. The body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The flu shot contains dead flu viruses. The nasal spray contains live, but weakened, flu viruses. The nasal spray is only approved for healthy children and adults two to 49 years old and who are not pregnant.
What Are The Differences Between A Cold And The Flu
Lets start with a similarity: The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, but caused by different viruses. Generally, the flu is worse than the common cold in terms of the intensity of symptoms. Colds typically feel milder than the flu, with symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. And colds usually do not progress to serious health problems like pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.
Flu, on the other hand, can have very serious associated complications. Flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
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When Do I Call The Doctor With Flu Or Cold Symptoms
If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:
- Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days can be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
- Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
- Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
- Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection . If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.
In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:
- Symptoms that were improving and then suddenly worsen
- Fever with a rash
Cold Flu And Allergy Treatments
Millions of people use over-the-counter products to relieve symptoms of cold, flu, and allergy, including nasal stuffiness and congestion, sneezing, runny noses, sore throat, and cough. The common causes of these symptoms include the viruses that cause the common cold, influenza virus, allergic rhinitis , and sinus infections . Viral infections can also cause headache, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes fever. Hay fever symptoms can also include itchy eyes, nose, and throat, and watery eyes.
To benefit from OTC products for cold, flu, and allergy, it is important to understand the condition causing the symptoms, the predominant symptom one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredient in the product. Some OTC products contain a single active ingredient medication to relieve one symptom. Many others contain a combination of two, three, and even four active ingredient medications to treat several symptoms at once. Selecting the right product can be difficult at times.
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Of The 200+ Viruses Linked To The Common Cold What Is The Most Prevalent Type
Over 200 different viruses can cause the common cold, but the most prevalent one is the rhinovirus. When the nose and sinuses become infected with a cold virus, the nasal passages produce clear mucus to help clear the nose and sinuses of the infection-causing germs. After a few days, the body’s immune system begins to fight back, producing white or yellow-colored mucus. As the natural bacteria that live in the nose begin to grow back, they can turn the color of the mucus green. This is normal. Since the common cold is caused by viruses, antibiotics are ineffective at treating it.
Preventing The Spread Of Colds And The Flu
Both cold and flu viruses are spread from one person to another through contact with saliva or mucous droplets from moist breath, talking, sneezing, coughing, or hand contact with the mouth or nose.
To prevent the spread of colds and the flu please remember the following:
- Wash your hands.
- Stay home if youre sick.
- Get a flu shot if you havent had one already.
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Covid Vs Flu Vs Common Cold Vs Rsv: What You Need To Know
Infectious disease specialist Jeffrey Bender, MD, shares how to tell the difference between the illnesses, and the most important thing parents can do to keep children safe.
Jeffrey Bender, MD, Attending Physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases, explains when to seek medical care, whether its possible to have multiple infections at the same time, and the importance of getting the flu vaccine.
Is It A Cold Or The Flu
As fall approaches each year, it signals the time for changes in the weather, holidays with familyand coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and headaches. When these symptoms hit, how do you know if you have the common cold or the flu?
The common cold and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. They share many similar symptoms, but they are 2 different conditions.
Cold symptoms are generally milder. They develop slowly and can include:
- fever up to 102°F
- runny or stuffy nose
- sore throat
Flu symptoms are more severe. They usually appear suddenly and can include:
- fever over 102°F
- muscle aches, especially in your back, arms and legs
- vomiting and diarrhea
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Which Illness Is Known As A Viral Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
The common cold is also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection. Over 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. Adults get an average of two to three colds per year, and children get even more. Colds are the most common reason children miss school and adults miss work . The result is a cost of $40 billion dollars annually, in the form of lost work and money spent on cold remedies, according to a University of Michigan study.
Some Basics About Flu And Colds
Each year, Americans get more than 1 billion colds, and between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu. The two diseases have some symptoms in common, and both are caused by viruses. However, they are different conditions, and the flu is more severe. Unlike the flu, colds generally donât cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, or lead to hospitalization.
No vaccine can protect you against the common cold, but vaccines can protect you against the flu. Everyone over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu each year. Vaccination is the best protection against getting the flu.
Prescription antiviral drugs may be used to treat the flu in people who are very ill or who are at high risk of flu complications. Theyâre not a substitute for getting vaccinated. Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu antivirals are the second. If you think youâve caught the flu, you may want to check with your health care provider to see whether antiviral medicine is appropriate for you. Call promptly. The drugs work best if theyâre used early in the illness.
To find out more about flu and colds, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Web site.
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Risk Factors For The Common Cold
Certain conditions may increase your risk of catching a cold. These include:
- Time of year. Colds can happen any time of year, but theyre more common in the fall and winter, or during rainy seasons. We spend more time inside when its cold and wet, which increases the chance of the virus spreading.
- Age. Children under age 6 are more likely to develop colds. Their risk is even higher if theyre in day care or a child care setting with other kids.
- Environment. If youre around a lot of people, such as on a plane or at a concert, youre more likely to encounter rhinoviruses.
- Compromised immune system. If you have a chronic illness or have been sick recently, you may be more likely to pick up a cold virus.
- Smoking. People who smoke have an increased risk of catching a cold, and their colds tend to be more severe.
- Lack of sleep. Irregular or inadequate sleep can affect your immune system, which may make you more susceptible to cold viruses.
Is It Possible To Prevent The Common Cold
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the “vital signs.”
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Who Is At Risk For The Common Cold
Everyone is at risk for the common cold. People are most likely to have colds during fall and winter, starting in late August or early September until March or April. The increased incidence of colds during the cold season may be attributed to the fact that more people are indoors and close to each other. In addition, in cold, dry weather, the nasal passages become drier and more vulnerable to infection.
Children suffer more colds each year than adults, due to their immature immune systems and to the close physical contact with other children at school or day care. In fact, the average child will have between 6 to 10 colds a year. The average adult will get 2 to 4 colds a year.
What Are The Complications Of The Common Cold
Colds can lead to secondary infections, including bacterial, middle ear, and sinus infections that may require treatment with antibiotics. If you have a cold along with high fever, sinus pain, significantly swollen glands, or a mucus-producing cough, see your healthcare provider. You may need additional treatment.
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Stuffy Nose: May Mean A Cold
Unless you’re also feverish, very achy, and just plain zapped of energy, you likely have a cold — although many people with the flu also say they have a stuffy nose and sneezing.
Both colds and the flu can lead to sinus infections. In addition to thick yellow or green nasal discharge, sinus infections can cause headaches and pain in the forehead, cheeks, and nasal bridge. The pain usually gets worse with sudden head movement or strain. Sometimes, you can get a secondary bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment.
The Flu Lasts Longer And Comes With Complications
For the most part, a cold will last about three to five days, then people start feeling better. But anything lasting five or more days could be the flu.
The influenza lasts a little longer than the common cold, Crespo said.
People can also develop complications, such as pneumonia and strep throat, more often with the flu.
With flu you need to pay attention to complications, he said. If you feel like you are getting better and you get a fever and a productive cough it could be pneumonia .
If you think you might have the flu, you should visit your doctor as soon as you can.
Why Do Children Get More Colds
Because young children havent been exposed to viruses before, they get more colds than adults. Their immune systems have to learn how to recognize and deal with these new germs. By the time you become an adult, youve had many colds. Its easier for your immune system to identify and attack similar viruses.
Children are also in close contact with other children. Kids typically dont cover their coughs and sneezes or wash their hands before touching their faces steps that prevent the virus from spreading.