Viral infections, such as the flu and colds, can happen anytime of the year, although it happens more often during cold weather. One factor may be because more people spend their times indoor, making close contact more frequent.
Most respiratory viruses can clear up and be completely treated in a span of few days, although there may be some cases leading to complications. This may include persistent coughing, on and off high fever, shortness of breath, and even chest pains.
Setting the two apart
Both the flu and colds are viral infections, but what sets them apart is that the former may infect a person suddenly and lasts for up to a week. More than 200,000 Americans are infected with flu and hospitalized due to complications. In fact, thousands die during the flu season between the months of December and February.
The two viral infections show the same signs, but the flu leads to more serious, to lethal symptoms, ranging from headache, fever, chills, body aches, dry cough, and fatigue. In some cases, young children also suffer from vomiting and nausea when infected with influenza.
How it’s transmitted
The flu virus can be easily transmitted from droplets coming from sneezing, talking, and coughing. Getting it doesn’t necessarily need to be directly transmitted, as these droplets that come into contact to surfaces, can still infect anyone who comes into contact.
When it comes to protection, the best option out there is to get a flu vaccination on an annual basis, as the vaccine is constantly updated to keep up with the continuous mutation of the virus. While there are companies offering free vaccines as part of the benefits for their employees, there are local clinics offering flu vaccines for an affordable price. So there’s really no excuse to get protected.
Health officials suggest everyone, from ages 6 months and up, should get the right vaccination against the flu. It is especially important for pregnant women, seniors and children 5 years and below, health caregivers and providers, and patients suffering from chronic health conditions, to get flu vaccination, as they are more prone from suffering from complications.
Fighting against colds
There are no known vaccine to fight against the common colds, although there are simple preventive measures anyone can do to reduce the risk of transmission. This includes:
1. Washing hands with soap and water, as frequently as possible, to kill the virus before it gets transmitted. Use of hand sanitizers that are alcohol – based is recommended
2. As much as possible, avoid exposure to people infected with the common cold.
3. A healthy and well – balanced diet is required to keep the immune system strong fighting against the virus.
4. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
5. Regular exercise and reduced stress.
When all else fails and you still caught the flu or colds, it is recommended to gargle with salt water to relieve your sore throat and seek the advice of your doctor for treatment recommendations. Drink more water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can only dehydrate you and worsen your condition.