Cold, Flu or Influenza? Survive the winter

All you need to know about common cold and the Flu.

The difference between a common cold and THE Flu?

Cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. They are among the most common winter health problems. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and its symptoms are more common and intense.

The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Unlike flu, colds generally do not result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

How the flu spreads

Person to Person through respiration or contact with virus infected surfaces

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Experts think that the virus spreads mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. People can possibly inhale these droplets into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the virus by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It is also important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill

The Flu is contagious

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That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before even realizing you are sick, as well as while you are sick. The flu virus can infect some people without showing symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Why do people usually get the Flu in winter?

Many things may play a role in getting the Flu in winter

  • The virus lives longer indoors in winter, because the air inside is less humid than it is outside.
  • While it’s alive and in the air, it’s easy for people to inhale it, or for it to land on the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • We spend more time indoors and have closer contact with each other, which makes it easier for the virus to spread.

Who is at high risk?

People at high risk for developing Flu-related complications

  • Children younger than 5, specifically those younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Those with certain health conditions including asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, liver diseases or a weakened immune system
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more)

Got symptoms? Don’t just ask anyone around. People do know a bit or two, only that this knowledge is within their own experience. A drug that worked with your relative might not work with you. Family doctors or General Practitioners do not just prescribe medicine, They become your lifetime keepers and intimate friends.