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Colds & Flu


We often utter cold and flu in the same breath, but they are quite different from each other. They have many symptoms in common. It makes differentiating between them a bit problematic at times. However, a cold is usually milder. It is marked by a feeling of coughing and sneezing, getting exhausted very easily, accompanied by a running nose. A person suffering from a cold may or may not have fever. Even if so, the mercury does not rise more than one or two degrees above the normal mark. There can be achy muscles, and headache.

Flu, on the other hand, catches all on a sudden and hits rather hard. It makes the person very weak and exhausted. Fever accompanied by chills, dry cough, sore throat, running nose, muscle ache, severe headache, and eye pain are common symptoms of flu. Flu usually takes more time to cure than a cold.

How are they caused?

Both flu and cold are viral infections. There are at least over one hundred types of viruses that can cause cold. In case of flu, there is a much less number of viruses. That is precisely the reason why shots are available against flu, but not so for cold.

The viruses may infect one very easily. It can come from a single sneeze or cough. Even shaking hands with an infected person can make the germ enter your body and attack you. Hence it is always advisable to wash hands properly and avoid direct contact with infected people if possible.

What to do?

Since these are viral infections, there isn’t any proven medicine against them. Both heal with time. However medicines can be taken to treat a patient symptomatically. For instance, pills may be preferred for severe pain in the eyes or a strong headache, or decongestant may be applied to ease blocked nasal passage, etc. However, it is always better to keep away from strong doses of medicine, as they are in no way going to fight the virus. At most what they do is give you a little symptomatic relief, besides their hazardous chemical effects on your system.


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