Cold & flu
What causes a flu and cold
Common Cold is a self-limiting viral infection caused by rhinovirus usually presents without fever. Flu is a viral infection caused by the human influenza virus usually starts with chills followed by fever and other symptoms.
Cold and flu usually occurs during the months of winter.
Cold and dry air makes the nasal passages drier thus allowing viruses to favourably replicate inside the nasal passages. Cold and flu viruses are more stable in cold air because of low humidity, thereby stay alive for a longer period
Causes of Common Cold and Flu
Symptoms usually occur due to the release of inflammatory substances in the body when the virus binds to immune receptors.
|Causes||Common Cold||Flu (Influenza)|
1. Type A (most virulent)
2. Type B
3. Type C
|Mode of transmission||
- Poor hygiene
- Weak immune system
The common cold viruses usually stay in the environment for almost 18 to 20 hours and are carried by people. The Flu virus can travel less distance only unlike other viruses.
What are the symptoms of a flu and cold
The symptoms of a Common Cold are:
- Runny nose
- Blocked stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms of Flu are
- All symptoms of a common cold
- Muscle aches
Common cold vs Flu
|Onset of symptom||Gradual||Abrupt|
|Duration of Symptoms||lasts around 3 or 4 days||7 days|
|Symptom after virus exposure||After 16 hours||After 48 hours|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Mild||Severe|
In a few people with the common cold, cough can last for more than 10 days or even a month.
Children with flu appear dull and show signs of dehydration like dry skin, no tears while crying, less urine output, etc.
Warning Signs that require immediate medical attention
- Common cold symptoms that do not resolve in 10 days
- Child younger than 3 months of age and has a fever or is lethargic
- In Adults with flu
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fever with rash
- Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhoea
Complications of Flu
- Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues
- Multi-organ failure
Home Remedies for Common Cold and Flu
The treatment is based on the advice of a General Physician and is mostly symptomatic treatment as they are viral infections and self-limiting in nature..
- Take rest and stay warm
- Avoid going out in cold weather and consuming cold foods as it may aggravate symptoms
- Add Vitamin C and Probiotics to your diet
- Take ginger tea, honey, and have chicken soup
- Saltwater gargling to prevent upper respiratory tract infections
- Steam inhalation
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated
- Drink boiled water
There is no vaccine for the common cold.
Vaccination for influenza virus is recommended by WHO to all individuals, especially to high-risk groups like children, elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised people and people who have asthma, diabetes & heart disease.