The most common respiratory infections in the rainy and monsoon season are the common cold (Acute Rhinitis) and flu (Influenza). Due to increased humidity and alternate heat and cold, our immune system weakens. A weak immune system can make us susceptible to the cold and flu.
About 200 viruses spread the cold and flu both in children and adults. And, the human body can never fight with all viruses because they have got high resistance. Therefore, we all at least one or more times attacked by the common cold or flu. And, they often spread rapidly and confused with each other as they manifest with the similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is important to find out the cause and differentiate the symptoms. So that we can give better treatment and care, preventing the spread and other complications.
Cold and Flu Caused by!
1. Viruses (primary cause)
- Influenza and Parainfluenza.
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
- Corona Virus.
2. Lack of Hygiene – using infected person towels, touching or shaking hands, and sharing food.
3. Close contact with an infected person.
4. Through infected droplets expelled out when infected person sneeze, and cough.
5. Decreased resistance (due to chronic diseases).
6. Exposure to the extreme cold weather.
7. Excessive smoking.
Cold and Flu Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, both cold and flu are confused with the each other. Hence, we have to be sure whether it is common cold or flu before the treatment. Let us differentiate the symptoms of both to ease the treatment.
Common cold :
- Low or no fever
- An occasional Headache
- Stuffy, Runny Nose
- A mild cough
- A sore throat
- Normal energy level
- Slight aches and pains
- Mild fatigue.
- High fever (102 F/38.8 C)
- A constant Headache
- Occasional Sneezing
- Clear Nose
- A severe cough
- An occasional sore throat
- Extreme exhaustion
- Severe aches and pains
- Several weeks of fatigue.
How Cold and Flu Treated?
The common cold is not a medical emergency and most of the people don’t visit the doctor unless it is very severe. We can treat it effectively with some of the medicines and home remedies.
- Inhale steam and drink hot water.
- Drink plenty of fluids (hydration reduces the severity of the symptoms).
- Take plenty of bed rest ( sleep/rest provoke immune system fight to against viruses).
- Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin (do not give aspirin to children below 16 years) to relieve a headache and fever.
Is it Possible to Stay Away from the Cold and Flu?
Adopt these simple but effective techniques in daily life to prevent the cold attacks-
- Wash your hands: clean your hands before eating thoroughly with soap or disinfectant solution.
- Drink safely: Avoid cool and refrigerated water and drink boiled and cooled water only. Take plenty of fluids like fruit juices especially Vitamin C rich (eg. Orange and lemon) as they increase the antibodies.
- Take nutritious diet: with lots of vegetables and fruits.
- Hygiene: Both personal and environmental hygiene significantly reduces the viral infections. Take bath daily, wear clean clothes, and clean kitchen and bathroom countertops with disinfectants. Periodically wash children’s school bags and toys.
- Use tissue: Teach children to sneeze or cough into tissues and discard the used tissues right away, and wash hands.
- Don’t share: Use your own glass and plates when you or another family member is sick. Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils, and towels of the infected person.
- Health Education: Teach children about the hazards of the cold and flu, how to practice hygiene.
- Good Habits: Cultivate the habit of regular exercise, healthy eating, and timely sleep.
Neglected and recurrent cold and flu attacks may develop severe complications like
- Bronchitis (infection in the windpipe)
- Otitis media (infection of the ear).
“Prevention is better than cure”- it is 100% effective in the case of the common cold and flu. Head over to healthy and hygienic habits to get rid of these infections!