The Most Common Health Issue- Cold And Flu
The common health issue ‘Cold’ is caused by a virus. It is nothing but an upper respiratory infection. Some viruses like rhinovirus can cause the common cold and it is the most issue that often makes people sniffle and sneeze. It is highly contagious and you can catch a cold any time in a year. It doesn’t have any perfect time period. If someone is suffering from cold, and that person sneezes or coughs, then it spreads through the air as virus-filled droplets. You can get infected if you touch a surface that has been handled by an infected person and then touch your own body part like nose, eyes, mouth. You are most contagious in the first two or four days after getting exposed to the cold virus.
Flu is an upper respiratory illness. Similar to cold, it can also hit at any time of year and it is generally seasonal. Flu season usually comes from fall to spring, peaking during the winter months. During the flu season, you can catch flu by picking up a cold first. You could be caught by coming in contact with an infected person. You are contagious one day before or even after 5 to 7 days of showing symptoms. The flu is caused by influenza A, B, and C viruses. Among them, influenza viruses A and B are most common. Active strains of a respiratory disease virus-like influenza vary from year to year. As a result, a new flu vaccine is developed each year. Similar to the common cold, the flu may also lead to a more serious condition, like pneumonia.
Symptoms of Common Cold
The common cold is a viral infection of a nose and throat i.e. the upper respiratory tract that affects the nasal part of the respiratory system. It is usually harmless. Those children who are younger than 6, are at greatest risk of cold. The infection is typically delicate and goes away without treatment. The symptoms of the common cold include headache, sneezing, and a blocked or runny nose. You may suffer from a cough or a sore throat.
Complications of communicable disease embrace acute respiratory diseases like bronchitis and pneumonia. People, suffering from lung diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more vulnerable to colds than normal people. The cold virus triggers the release of chemicals, making the blood vessels leak, causing the mucous glands to work harder.
Some symptoms of the common cold include the followings;
- Runny or stuffy or blocked nose
- Fever up to 1020 F (Low-grade fever)
- Water eyes
- Muscles pain
- Mild tiredness
Symptoms of Flu
Flu is caused by a virus named the influenza virus. It lasts about 5-7 days. Symptoms of seasonal flu involve fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, etc. The best way to avoid the flu is by getting a flu shot that takes about 2 weeks after injection to start protecting you from the flu virus. You should get your flu vaccine before the flu season starts. It not only reduces the risk of getting flu but also protects more vulnerable people around you who may not have good immunity such as people with chronic illness, the elderly or small children, etc.
Similar to the common cold, the flu can be developed into a more serious condition such as pneumonia. And this is especially for older adults, pregnant women, younger children, and people with health conditions that weaken their immune system such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.
Some common symptoms of flu include the followings;
- Feeling tired
- Stuffy or blocked nose
- Fever over 1020 F (Low-grade fever)
- Poor appetite
- Muscle aches (especially in legs, arms, and back)
Prevention of a Cold & Flu
There is no vaccine obtained for the common cold. But you have to take some precautions to reduce the spread of cold viruses. And the precautions are listed below;
Disinfect your stuff – Keep your bathroom as well as kitchen clean with the help of some disinfectant. Especially when some of your family is suffering from cold or flu.
Use tissues – Cough and sneeze into tissues. Discard used tissues immediately and wash your hand properly. Teach your children to sneeze into the bend of their elbow if they are won’t have a tissue.
Don’t use anything of others – Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or you can also use disposable cups.
Take care of yourself – During cold or flu, you should eat properly, or get enough sleep and manage the stress that might help you to recover your cold.
Wash your hands – Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soapy water. If soap and water are not available, at that time you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or paper soap.
Steer clear of colds – Avoid close contact with anyone who is suffering from cold or flu. Don’t share anything such as bed, drinking glasses, food, with the suffered person.
Choose your child care center wisely – Go for a childcare setting along with good hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping sick children at home.
Good hygiene – Wash your hands with hot water and soap. Or else if you are not having any soap or hand wash, you can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Take prescription & anti-flu medicines – It includes oseltamivir, rimantadine, amantadine, zanamivir, etc. These are some of the drugs which can make the symptoms milder. But these medicines are only effective if you are taking these within the 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
Take vaccine (by shot or nasal spray) – There is no vaccine available for the common cold, but there is a vaccine to prevent flu. And this vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works to expose the immune system to the viruses. As a result, the body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The nasal spray is only applicable for healthy children or adults of 2-49 years old, and also who are not pregnant.