There is a very thin line between a pesky cold and the three-letter word that is dreaded by all. That’s right, the F-L-U. No matter how strong or brave you are, the word Flu strikes fear through you. It is a sure fire way to ruin anyone’s holiday cheer. Sure, Michael Jordan played through the flu to help the Chicago Bulls win an NBA title, but he is Michael Jordan and you are, well, you are you.
What exactly is that “thin line” you ask? Well, symptoms for one, as I stated previously, are a huge difference between a cold and the flu. While the symptoms of a cold are most definitely annoying and nagging, they pale in comparison to the symptoms of the flu. With a cold you will experience slight congestion, a runny nose, a cough, and some slight tiredness. Normally, you can continue your normal life with a cold until it fades, which is usually about a week or so. When you have the flu your symptoms are extreme and worsen rapidly. Symptoms of the flu include headaches, nausea, body aches, sinus infections, and even pneumonia.
Another major difference is the seasonality of the flu. Unlike a cold, the flu is contracted in the fall or winter. Science has since proven that, while this is correct, the influenza doesn’t so much as lay low, but infect people around the world who are going from the summer season to the colder months. The common thinking used to be that the influenza viruses either went into a state of dormancy or maintained at very low levels during the swarmer months before exploding during the autumn and winter.
Treatment of a cold versus the flu is also drastically different and possibly the most crucial piece of information you should take out of this do cument. While there isn’t a “cure” for the common cold, it is proven that over the counter treatments do help rid your body of the cold quicker. Some over the counter treatments include Tylenol, aspirin, or a simple decongestant. These medicines mixed with rest and healthy nutrient intake will make that cold disappear in no time.
Flu treatment on the other hand is a little more complicated. Due to the wider variety of flu symptoms, you need to match your symptoms to your medicine. For instance if you have extreme headaches you would take an over the counter pain reliever like naproxen. Also, for the flu, most patients require an anti-viral medicine that can only be prescribed by a doctor. This drug will provide some relief to your symptoms, as well as help your body rid itself of the virus, and lessen the chance of you passing the virus to those around you.
A cold isn’t anything any of us wish, but things can certainly be worse. So, next time you find yourself sneezing and with a slight cough, rather then complaining, be thankful its just a cold and not the dreaded three-letter word.