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What Are the Similarities Between Cold and Flu?

Colds and flu are respiratory illnesses, both caused by viruses. Also, they usually occur at the periods of the low temperature, or after a sudden temperature changes, and therefore often lead to confusion that it is the same disease.

The Differences Between Cold and Flu

The most significant differences are expression of symptoms and duration of disease. Cold is less expressed with particularly mild symptoms, while influenza is usually more prominent with stronger symptoms and it is potentially much more dangerous. Influenza virus constantly changes structure, and each season a new species appear. Practically nobody is immune on cold and flu. Cold can be caught at any time of year, while the flu rarely occurs before November and after February. Cold lasts for only a few days (up to a week), while influenza can take up to two - three weeks. Also, the treatment is somewhat different, because flu requires medications prescribed by doctor.

The Symptoms of Cold and Flu

The main symptom by which it can be specified whether it is a cold or flu is the way in which the disease occurs. Usually, in the case of cold, disease occurs gradually, the person has no fever or the temperature is slightly elevated, there is no headache, but he/she has stuffy or very runny nose. On the other hand, in the case of influenza, the disease occurs suddenly, with heavier symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Sometimes there are stomach problems, diarrhea and vomiting.

The Treatment of Cold and Flu

The treatment of these two diseases requires ensuring enough fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C.

In the case of the cold and flu, infected person should rest as much as possible, drink enough liquids and intake plenty of vitamins. The patient should rest until the disease cures. The vaccine is recommended if outbreak of influenza is expected. No matter if symptoms seem like normal cold, it should be pointed out that sometimes the symptoms may suddenly worsen. Because of that it is important to consult with the doctor.

In the case of difficult breathing, fever, headache and sore throat, patient should go to the doctor immediately to get appropriate therapy.

The Complications of Cold and Flu

If the symptoms of cold or flu are still present after several days, or even worse, ill person should see a doctor as soon as possible. Cold usually doesn't lead to serious health problems, but influenza can cause inflammation of the throat or lungs, bronchitis, sinusitis and other serious problems with respiratory organs.

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