Showing posts with label Flu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flu. Show all posts

Feb 19, 2017

Cold or Flu

This is the time of year there are many bugs going around to make us miserable. Worse yet, some come back during the same season. In general, flu symptoms tend to be more severe than cold symptoms, but do not last as long. Here are a few ways to tell whether you have a cold or the flu.

  • Symptoms of a cold usually come on gradually, but symptoms of the flu can appear suddenly.
  • Symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are more common with colds than with the flu.
  • People with the flu usually develop a fever, but people with colds rarely do.
  • The flu often causes body aches and headaches, which can be severe. If you have a cold, aches are usually mild.
  • The flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections, but such compilations are rare with colds.
  • You can get a seasonal flu vaccine to reduce the severity of flu each year, but there is no vaccine to protect from the common cold.
  • Washing your hands frequently can help prevent either cold or flu.
There is no cure for the common cold, but relief includes: stay hydrated, get rest, soothe a sore throat, combat stuffiness, relieve pain. etc. All are common sense, and should help you feel better for the week or two it takes to shake that nasty cold. Antibiotics attack bacteria, but they are no help against cold viruses.

Antiviral medications do not cure, but can help alleviate some of flu symptoms, and many of the remedies for cold apply to the flu as well, including taking medicine for headaches. Flu symptoms usually are gone in a short time and do not linger as a cold does.

Regardless of whether you have a cold or the flu, the illness will usually go away on its own, but you should visit your doctor if your symptoms change or get worse. If you get either a cold or flu, please stay home and do not share.

Jan 24, 2014

Is It Cold or Flu

This time of year many will get one or the other, or both. However, there is a difference that is quite striking. Both can share a number of the same symptoms, including a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and cough. Because both the common cold and flu are caused by viruses, neither respond to antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections. Antiviral medications can be prescribed by a physician to treat the flu and should be administered within 48 hours of when people begin to feel ill.

Colds tend to be relatively mild and typically last only a few days. Colds also have a more gradual onset with mild aches, and pains. Common colds are caused by many different viruses and high fever is rare. Colds are much more common than cases of flu.

The flu, short for influenza, usually comes on suddenly and is accompanied by fever, severe aches, chills, and fatigue. Effects of the flu can last for weeks.

Treatment for both includes plenty of rest, drinking fluids, taking antihistamines, pain relievers, and decongestants. Don't forget to keep a good supply of chicken soup, just in case.

Oct 11, 2013

Vitamin C Myth Lingers

As we approach the cold and flu season, I thought it might be interesting to follow up on the persistent vitamin C myth of using it as a prevention and cure for the common cold. Some people have also claimed it to be a cure for cancer.

Hundreds of studies have now concluded that vitamin C does not treat the common cold. The results of many studies of various types, involving hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have all arrived at the same conclusion - vitamin C has no effect to prevent or cure colds or cancer.

The FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association, the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services do not recommend supplemental vitamin C for the prevention or treatment of colds. Vitamin C does have other benefits and the studies did not say vitamin C is bad for you, it just does not provide the cancer and common cold remedies claimed.

Oct 9, 2012

Flu Season

It is that time of year again when the flu bugs invade and many people get the flu or a cold. Most viruses last a week or less, while others last for weeks. There is no cure, due to the many varieties of viruses.

The name “common cold” came into use in the 1500s, because its symptoms seemed to appear in cold weather. Of course, we now know that a common cold is not limited to cold weather. It seems more prevalent, because people spend more time indoors in close proximity to each other and sharing the virus.

Good news, kissing reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby lowering blood pressure and optimizing immune response. Also, kissing a person with a cold will not cause you to catch it. The quantity of virus on the lips and mouth are miniscule.

Zinc, echinacea, vitamin C, garlic, eucalyptus, honey, lemon, menthol, steam, hot toddies, alcohol, Zicam, chicken soup, and many other “cures” have been repeatedly tested and have been scientifically proven to not prevent or shorten the duration of a cold. At best they provide some physical relief.

Flu shots are designed to prevent the most common types of virus. Most are effective for only those types.

Antibiotics do not cure a cold as they work on bacteria and most colds are caused by virus. However, if it is bacterial, such as half of pneumonia strains, it does help. Bacterial pneumonia usually comes on suddenly and viral types take some time to develop.