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Identifying the Differences Between the Cold and the Flu

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

It can be difficult for a person to distinguish the difference between cold symptoms and flu symptoms. The cold and the flu are very similar; they are both caused by viruses that attack they body.

The most recognizable differences between cold symptoms and flu symptoms are that a cold's symptoms typically develop more slowly than symptoms of the flu. Though they are both caused by viruses, cold viruses tend to mutate more rapidly than the flu virus. The quick mutation of the cold virus makes it impossible to develop a vaccination for the common cold.

The cold and flu share many of the same symptoms, but they differ in severity. The fever symptoms are usually specific to the flu. Up to 80% of all flu cases present a temperature of at least 100 degrees for 3 to 4 days. Coughs due to the cold are mucus producing while coughs associated with the flu are dry. Aches and pains from the cold are mild where as aches and pains from the flu are severe. Nasal congestion and sneezing are both rare symptoms of the flu, but is commonly present with the cold. Chills are rare in cold cases, but are present in over half flu cases. Headache and chest discomfort are also symptoms of the flu.

The cold and flu are treated very similarly. Since both are viruses, the best way to treat the cold or flu is by treating the symptoms. Resting and relaxing is one of the most important parts of recovering along with keeping warm. Gargling can be very affective for people suffering from a sore throat. It is also important to intake a lot of liquids to keep the body hydrated and to also loosen mucus from the throat and lungs. Inhaling steam can also dilute mucus and clear sinuses.

To stop symptoms from worsening, it is best to refrain from smoking and avoid smoky areas for the entire duration of the cold. Avoiding alcohol is also important for recovery, as alcohol reduces the body's ability to fight off infections.

There are several ways to avoid the cold and flu. Regularly washing your hands and avoiding touching your face with your hands limits the spread of germs. The cold and flu virus are often spread from the hands to the mouth. Staying healthy by eating healthy, exercising, getting lots of sleep, taking vitamins and nutritional supplements and avoiding drugs and alcohol are all ways to help support a healthy immune system.

Neville Street is the Administrative Director for Rodriquez MD, a bilingual medical practice in Lawrenceville, GA that provides health care to infants, children, adolescents and adults. Lawrenceville doctors Deborah and Veronica Rodriguez are sisters with a combined 27 years of experience. The doctors are Board Certified in Family Medicine and Internal Medicine and both Gwinnett physicians have extensive experience working in private practice.

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Source: EzineArticles
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