Cold and Flu


Overview of cold and flu

On a regular basis, people are unaware of cold and flu infections that grow within the body. Due to their apparently benign nature, cold and flu do not get attention in the initial stage. In this stage, the viruses and bacteria take advantage of the weak body immunity and enter the human body. In more advanced stages, these pathogens multiply within the body and attack the immune system, predisposing the body to future infections of severe nature. The number of influenza or “flu” cases reported every year lie between 3-5 million. Out of these, 290,000- 650,000 will result in the death of the patient. This shocking figure has alarmed doctors worldwide and they strongly recommend immediate diagnosis as soon as any symptom of cold and flu is detected.

What is cold or common cold?

cold flu symptomsA common cold is a seasonal infection which is caused by viral or bacterial agents or due to several allergens present in the air.

It is normally manifested as fever, cough and cold, runny and itchy nose.

Common cold affects mainly the upper respiratory tract.

It does not attain a severe form if diagnosed on time.

 

What is flu?

Flu is typically associated with influenza. It is a viral infection that attacks and damages the respiratory tract, affecting the lungs, throat, and nose. It is usually mediated by the influenza virus (Type A, B or C). Flu is accompanied by fever with intermittent chills, lung congestion, headaches, body-aches and few other obvious symptoms. Flu, like the common cold, is also seasonal. But it is far more severe than a common cold.

It can persist even after strong medications and can destroy the immune system permanently. Flu is usually very contagious and must be diagnosed carefully.

 

What causes cold and flu?

The causative agents of cold and flu usually reside in the environment.

The most commonly detected causes of cold and flu are listed below-

  • Seasonal influenza virus (types A, B or C) that is present in the air especially during Winter
  • Few bacterial species like Haemophilus influenzae can result in severe cold and flu infection.
  • Infections can be caused due to living in unhygienic conditions like – not washing hands before eating, keeping food items (especially fruits) exposed to open air for a long time and living in extremely polluted environments (For example, industrial areas).
  • Conditions of the body such as sleeplessness, extreme fatigue, weakness due to prior infections and excessive physical stress and strain can easily predispose it to viral or bacterial infections.
  • Climatic or weather conditions can trigger the pathogens to invade vulnerable bodies. For example, level of the flu virus is higher in humid and tropical regions than in others.
  • Addictive habits like smoking and alcohol consumption can worsen an existing cold and flu
  • Overdose of few antibiotic drugs can make the body susceptible to future infections
  • Diet deficient in Vitamin C can lead to lack of immunity against infection

It is mandatory to conduct a thorough diagnosis to pinpoint the exact cause of a cold and flu infection. Hasty intake of antibiotics or other drugs is strongly forbidden.

 

What are the common symptoms?

The symptoms of cold and flu can range from mild to severe depending on the degree of infection caused. The easily identifiable symptoms are

  • Persistent or intermittent fever
  • An extreme headache accompanied by tightness around the temple region
  • Body aches with occasional chills
  • Inflammation of nose, eyes, and throat along with constant irritation and pain
  • An extreme cough accompanied by the production of thick and sticky mucus
  • Lung congestion and bronchial infection in extreme cases
  • Stuffy, itchy and running nose accompanied by sneezing
  • A compressive feeling in the chest
  • Fatigue and extreme weakness
  • Nausea and digestive disorders in rare cases
  • Disturbed sleep cycle
  • Breathlessness
  • Sudden fluctuations in mental states, irritation, and occasional seizures
  • Muscular pain due to constant coughing

 

The difference between cold and flu

Patients are often misdiagnosed due to lack of adequate knowledge of the differences between symptoms of “cold” and “flu”. Although in most cases, the symptoms are almost similar, but they vary in intensity. Listed below are few manifestations that will completely eliminate chances of misdiagnosis-

  • In common cold, the occurrence of fever is rare. Even if fever occurs it is intermittent in nature and cures within a very short span. On the contrary, flu is always accompanied by a high fever which persists for 3-4 days.
  • Headaches and body pains are more common occurrence in flu than in common cold
  • In common cold, fatigue and weakness can occur, but the patient recovers very fast. But in case of flu, extreme fatigue occurs and it persists for about 2-3 weeks.
  • Nasal congestion, sneezing, and throat inflammation are the main characteristics of common cold, though they might be observed in rare cases of flu.

 

Does cold and flu run in families?

It has been observed that few people are more vulnerable to infections caused under similar circumstances than others. But the role of genes in determining a person’s susceptibility to diseases is still debatable and is under research.

 

Long-term effects of cold and flu

Cold and flu if neglected or misdiagnosed can eventually lead to severe disorders like asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and permanent cardiovascular disorder.  

 

Treatment & Prevention

The importance of washing your hands and keeping them germ-free cannot be overstated here as this method is most effective in getting rid of the maximum virus. The most common areas through which the germs spread are doorknobs, telephones, computer keyboards, faucets, and toothbrushes. Make sure after every time you touch these, you sanitize your hands. Eyes, nose, and mouth are the common regions where the virus can enter your body. Avoid touching them if there if people around you are infected with the common cold. Nicotine is the worst aggravator of a sore throat. It irritates lung and throat and thus smoking must be prohibited at every cost. Keep two things away – sugar and stress. These will suppress your immune system and make you more vulnerable to cold and cold-like infections.

The long-lasting effects of cold and flu cause excessive damage to the body. It can even cause seasonal epidemics which attack people belonging to all age groups. Doctors particularly warn people against cold and flu of contagious nature by recommending preventive measures to resist infections. Avoiding direct contact with people already infected with cold and flu can regulate the spread of the disease to a considerable extent. Maintaining proper hygienic conditions is also mandatory. The educational institutes and health organizations should actively advocate the practice of healthy and sustainable living to enable each and every individual to combat cold and flu infections.

 

Cold and flu home remedies

There is a number of ways by which you can treat the symptoms of cold and flu at home. Things that help in clearing nasal congestion and boosting immunity are great home remedies for cold and flu. One of nature’s best weapons against such infections is ginger. Ginger helps to destroy the rhinovirus which causes maximum cases of colds. Having ginger extract with warm water can help soothe the symptoms.

Similarly, warm lemon tea with honey also works wonders. Lemon and honey are natural bactericidal and also help in reducing inflammation. Other kitchen ingredients that can help boost your immunity are garlic and yogurt. Yogurt is a probiotic, i.e; it helps in increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut that in turn strengthens your immune system. Adding a pod of raw garlic in your daily diet will also help fight cold better.

It is also advised to gargle with warm saline water and use an air humidifier in your room. Dry air worsens the symptoms of cold and flu. The saline water will also help in removing pathogens from the throat.

 


TL;DR?

cold and flu infographic

 

Facts

  • The common cold can be caused by 100 different types of virus, amongst which the rhinovirus is responsible for almost 50% of all incidences.
  • Studies reveal that in the USA alone there are almost 1 billion cases of colds every year.

Facts

  • Within a time interval of 24 hours, a single common cold virus can spawn a whopping 16 million offspring.
  • Almost 100,000 germs are released in the surrounding air with just one sneeze.

Facts

  • Common spots where most germs accumulate are telephones, workstations, doorknobs, and computer keyboards.
  • Contrary to popular belief, getting a flu shot will not give you the flu.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

Display this infographic on your website

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid dehydration.
  • It is advisable to stay at home so that you get the required rest and don’t spread the germs.
  • Wash and sanitize your hands as much as possible.
Don'ts
  • Completely skip gym but don’t indulge in too intensive workouts.
  • Indulge in smoking and drinking as they can suppress your immunity and worsen the infection.
  • Resort to self-medication. Don’t try to treat these with antibiotics.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from expert on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
L-arginine: Your search for the ultimate fitness booster ends here L-arginine is an amino acid necessary for the body to perform various functions.  It is essential in producing…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
How chlorophyll is more than just a green pigment meant for photosynthesis Cholorphyll - you must know the usual function of this chemical in plants. But did you know that…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging from diabetes cure…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Grapeseed Oil: Find out how to use this oil without any side-effects Grapes are known for their delicious fresh taste and the fact that they make wine a healthy drink.…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Top 15 fat burning foods you need to start eating from today! Tired of going to gym everyday but seeing no change in your weight? Try these top fat burning…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
Activated charcoal: The instant health benefits of this “diamond in the coal mine” How can the pitch black activated charcoal help you whiten your teeth? Or have a hangover-free sunday morning?…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
LDL cholesterol level
Lecithin: Learn how you can utilize this fatty acid to improve your cholesterol count Lecithin is primarily a fatty acid found in common foods such as soy and eggs. However, this fatty…
How cooking with CLA safflower oil can help you lose weight? Read and discover more about CLA safflower oil and how it can aid faster fat metabolism in people…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
Hate making breakfast?Fast and healthy breakfast recipes just for you! Tired of snatching a bagel every morning for breakfast during the rush hour? Here are few fast and…
Bulletproof coffee recipe
Bulletproof Coffee – Breakfast of champions or yet another health fad? Can this special ketogenic coffee really make your body race as fast as a bullet?
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
boost brain health
The ultimate tips on how to boost your brain health Would you like to be smarter? Want a sharp memory but bored of doing sudoku? Try salsa or…
Amaranth: Why is this native Peruvian grain called the “crop of the future”? Full of healthy high proteins and gluten-free, the grain, Amaranth, the tasty and ancient pseudo cereal from Peru,…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
MCT oil athletes
MCT Oil : The kind of fats you should be eating MCT oil or Medium Chain Triglycerides is the new buzzword in the fitness industry. What makes this oil…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
canola oil cooking
Canola oil: How safe is it to consume this popular cooking oil? Extracted from rapeseeds, Canola oil derives its name from Canadian Oil. Did you know that some forms of…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Pomegranate: Why are they called ruby red pearls of health? The shrub Punicagranatum yields a red fruit which is what you normally call pomegranate. The fruit is round…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Fructose: Healthy fruit-product or loaded with toxic calories? Fructose is a sugar derived from fruits and other plant sources. Does this mean that fructose consumption is…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
healthy habits
10 healthy habits: Have a hearty kick-start to the New Year! Do you set goals that are too difficult for you to maintain? Are to struggling to follow healthy…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
green tea benefits
Green Tea: Does it really aid weight loss and reverse aging? A centuries-old concoction of fresh green leaves, green tea holds the secret to healthy weight loss & delayed…
global warming health
Rising mercury and your health: How Global Warming is damaging your body Don't ignore the rising temperature. Global warming causes more than just heat strokes. It could be a lot…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
iron food shellfish
Iron-Rich Foods: Eat these foods to keep fatigue and anemia away! How to ensure a muscles as strong as iron? Eat iron rich foods ! Iron is one of…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Amnesia brain
Amnesia: It’s not just a blow on the head that can erase your memory Amnesia, a condition popularized by many a tv shows, is a condition of partial or permanent memory loss.…
stress adverse effects
Fight, flight, or freeze: 8 ways stress can ruin your body Did you know that stress is in-built in our systems? It helped our ancestors respond to danger. How…