Cold or Flu

The common cold is big business. An estimated $3 billion a year is spent on over the counter medications for the common cold. There are multiple different options for a variety of symptoms. Do you take a capsule, a tablet, a liquid or an effervescent? You can choose to address just one symptom with this pill or up to five symptoms with that liquid. If you feel like you have just fallen down the rabbit hole with Alice you are not alone!

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system and the most common infectious disease in humans. A common cold can be caused by more than 200 different viruses and when just one of them overpowers the body’s immune system infection occurs. Antibiotics are useless to treat a cold.

In our house we treat a cold with natural and holistic remedies Simple, effective remedies are as close as the kitchen. Some staples for treating a cold are herbal teas, honey, lemon and ginger. Make sure your pantry is stocked with Mother Nature as a first line of defense.

 

Here are the 3 most important things to do when you have a cold:

~ Get plenty of bed rest: Your body is fighting an infection, rest is critical for your team to win! Resting does not mean pushing through your day by holding your head up at your desk. It means lying down and letting the body focus on the job at hand.

~ Stay hydrated with hot teas: Drinking hot liquids can relieve nasal decongestion and soothe your nose and throat. Even though it may feel like your body is producing copious amounts of liquid on its own, you need to continue to drink lots of fluids to help flush out the bad guys. Adding a little honey to your tea gives you a power shot of immune system support.

~ Blow your nose often: It is important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffing the mucus back into your head. Okay I know that may sound gross but your first line of defense is mucus. (Click here to check out my “Color of Snot” blog)  Blow gently…don’t try to honk like a goose! If you blow too hard the pressure can cause an earache. Remember to always wash your hands after blowing your nose.

But how do you know if what you have is just a common cold or the flu? Here are some ways to tell them apart:

Symptom

Cold

Flu

Fever Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.
Coughing A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Aches Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Stuffy Nose Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
Chills Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden Symptoms Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
Headache A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.
Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

 

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