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Colds and Flu: Know the Difference and how to avoid it

Updated on August 29, 2012

Difference between common colds and flu video

Colds and Flu differences

This article is a brief understanding of these two conditions and some safety measures to protect ourselves from colds and flu

Cold is defined as acute viral rhinopharyngitis, or acute coryza, and is a viral infectious disease of the respiratory system. Since it is viral infection it is easily transferable.
Flu or influenza is defined as an infection due to the RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. We can have flu in the same manner as colds. So how are colds and flu different and alike? And what are their symptoms? They both make us feel feverish and involves sneezing, congested nose and coughing. Colds is not as bad as flu which takes longer days and might complicate to more serious illness like pneumonia. Fever in flu is usually higher and milder in colds. You can experience headache in both but it is usually milder in colds. When you experience fatigue it is usually a flu virus. Sometimes you might mistake colds for rhinitis or sinus. Colds are viral infection and not bacterial unlike sinusitis. A cold is milder than a flu and you get better in five days unlike flu which last for more than five days. The swine flu is a kind of flu virus for which vaccines are being tested.

Doctors don’ t really prescribe medicine when you visit them for these two sicknesses and antibiotics are not needed too.

picture courtesy of
picture courtesy of

How to avoid flu and colds? It is easy as learning the ABC:

Since both flu and colds are both viral they can be avoided simply by washing your hands with soap and water. How long do you need to wash your hands? Simply recite and sing the ABC and when you reach the last letter you turn off the faucet and you are done.

  1. Try to avoid touching your mouth nose and eyes with your hands specially when there’ s no way you have the means to wash them.
  2. Try to eat citrus fruits and take vitamin C Try to eat balanced healthy foods rich in vitamins A and C
  3. Get some adequate rest and sleep.
  4. Drink lots of liquids (water or juice) for nose congestion purposes, eating chicken soup may serve this purpose also.
  5. Schedule a flu shot for you and your family. In this way the probability of exposure is lessened
  6. If it is not very important or urgent avoid crowds like going to the mall etc.
  7. Most of all maintain a sound mind because it entails a sound body. Always stay positive too.
  8. And since we are the ones who know ourselves better, anything which we feel is not colds or flu and if our situation get worst, we must consult a physician.

How to avoid colds and flu

For those of us who live in a place with four seasons, once again the cold months are here (September to March or until April). In some tropical countries colds and flu (influenza) are common during rainy season. Sometimes, we tend to disregard the symptoms of these two common sickness and as such it is not a concern for most of us. Last year, when there is a scare of the swine flu virus, it catches the attention of all. Swine flu can kill and complicate conditions, thus we should not really take them for granted.

The vulnerability of us catching them speaks about our health and immune system in general too. An average person will experience cold and flu in a year, and the frequency varies from one person to another. Vulnerability in acquiring it depends at some point on how well we understand the underlying causes of it because you can avoid catching it if you understand what causes it in the first place. Knowing the symptoms will help us fight against it. We would also like to know how cold is differentiated from flu. Furthermore we can now take precautions as we don’ t like to experience the symptoms of it because it will make us feeling crappy and not well.


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    • ImanAlipk profile image

      ImanAlipk 7 years ago

      Thanx for given information, i always suffer from cold and flu, its very painful for me. thanx again.

    • ImanAlipk profile image

      ImanAlipk 7 years ago

      Good hub.

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 7 years ago from United States

      I am currently fighting a cold...and have all the symptoms but fever, and I am treating it with lots of garlic in chicken broth, whole cloves, that get soft and digestible when cooked, and also saline spray, and a good healthy diet. The doctors have recently told us that cold medications are pretty much useless so I am avoiding them.

      except for Tylenol sinus to help clear my head. But I only take one or two doses daily, one in the morn and one at night even though they only last four hours. I will get through it and move on, but it is never fun~~~MFB III