A Cold, or a Flu?


Winter is an enjoyable season for most of us; snuggling in your blanket with your favourite hot beverage and a good book or movie sounds great, but then steps in the party-popper. With a runny nose and fits of sneezing and coughing accompanied with several other symptoms known to most of us, we hear ourselves saying, “I think I’ve caught a cold.” or “Oh great, the flu’s getting to me.” So which one is it, a cold? Or a flu?

Although the terms ‘cold’ and ‘flu’ are often used interchangeably, it’s important to know the differences between a common cold and influenza. A flu is not ‘just a bad cold’ and usually shows more severe symptoms which are onset a lot quicker than a cold.

The following characterize, but are not limited to a cold and can be fairly visible during a flu as well.

  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing

A flu, on the other hand, is usually defined by the following which are rare in the case of a cold:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Body chills

Whether it’s a cold or flu, both are contagious viral infections and if not treated appropriately, can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. A few simple precautions can save you an unpleasant experience. As it’s said, prevention is better than cure.

  • Starting with the obvious, dispose used tissues, avoid contact and wash your hands as soon as possible. A good hack would be to sneeze or cough into your elbow rather than hands when needed, since you’re less likely to touch and infect other objects that way.
  • Do not depend too much on central heating as it can dry the atmosphere and cause coughing. Use a humidifier if necessary.
  • Dress warm, since studies show shivering lowers our immunity and makes us more prone to catching a cold or flu. If for not any other reason, wear a hat simply because your mother says so, because moms are always right.
  • Lastly, the ultimate regulator of good health: good food. Boost your immune system with zinc mineral, plenty being found in eggs and seafood, and Vitamin C. There must be a reason such a rich source of Vitamin C, the orange, is a seasonal fruit of winters.

Follow up with such simple tactics, beat the winter cold and flu, and get only the best of this season!


Sources: Dailymail, NHS.

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