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The Difference Between Colds and Flu

[18 Sep 2009 | One Comment | 11 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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The fall and winter season brings us Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It also brings us runny noses and sore throats.  Many people suffer from colds and flu symptoms during the winter.  The flu can be more severe even life threatening.  This article will help you learn to tell the difference between a cold and the flu.

The cause of the common cold is the rhinovirus.  And, like all other viruses, the rhinovirus has no cure.  A virus infiltrates a cell and rewrites the DNA to mimic the virus.  From there it continues to replicate these viral cells.

The way to fight a virus is to fight the symptoms.  There are over 200 types of rhinovirus causing the common cold.  The cold virus you get today may not be the same one you contract next year.

Cold viruses attack the respiratory system.  We cough, sneeze, our noses run, our eyes run, we get a sore throat, and we generally feel really, really bad.  People can function with a cold but often it takes all the strength we can muster.

When our immune system is compromised we are more susceptible to the viruses invading our bodies.  The “compromise” can come from stress at work, lack of sleep, or other medical conditions.  Whatever the cause, our body is ill prepared to fight the potential infection.

The flu on the other hand can keep us bound to the bed for several days.  If you thought you felt bad with a stuffy nose, it will feel like a cake walk compared to the flu virus.  Here are some facts about the flu.

The flu is caused by the influenza virus.  It is also a respiratory condition but it is more severe than a cold and can cause death in some cases.  The flu virus has identifiable strains that scientists have used to create vaccines.  The vaccines try to cover all bases but it is possible to be vaccinated against one strain and still contract another.

Flu vaccines are recommended each year for several age groups.  Children under five, the elderly, and anyone who is immune-compromised are advised to receive the vaccine.  The newest way to administer the vaccine is through a spray.

Flu symptoms begin similar to cold symptoms.  You get a stuffy nose, sneeze, or have a cough.  One telltale sign is the achy muscles.  It feels like your entire body hurts.  After that, the nausea, vomiting and fever attack you.

Pretty soon, you are bedridden with something close to dehydration.  The flu virus can cause complications that lead to death.  It is best to see the doctor before deciding to self-medicate for the flu.

Both are spread by contact with infected people.  Kissing, holding hands, sleeping next to someone with either one, and then touching your face can introduce the virus into mucous membranes.  This year, protect the one you love and yourself by taking care of colds and flu at the first sign of symptoms.

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