Cold and Flu
Everyone has suffered from cold at one time or the other, we have all had our fair share, but not everyone has ever caught a flu, but since symptoms can be similar, and mistaking one for the other could mean an extended illness and serious complications. So how do you know what you have?
Colds are inconvenient but usually not serious and can be treated at home. Symptoms may last 4-14days and include:
• Runny nose and/or sneezing
• Sore throat
• Head and body aches
• Low fever (less than 101°F or 38.3° C)
• Congestion of the ears, nose, throat and head
Flu typically hits in some states in selected months of the year particularly from December-March. Acute symptoms last 3-4 days, and cough may linger for 3 weeks.
Gastrointestinal symptoms are rare.
Complications are uncommon in young, otherwise healthy adults.
• Rapid onset of symptoms
• High fever (greater than 101° F or 38.3° C)
• Severe body aches and/or headache
• Dry cough
• Extreme fatigue
• Pneumonia can be serious and even fatal.
Tips for Treating Yourself:
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
If you feel well enough to exercise, it may help to counter fatigue that often accompanies a cold or flu. But don’t overdo it – cut back on the intensity and duration of your usual workout until fatigue abates, then build up again slowly. Intense activity may increase discomfort and lower your resistance to additional infection.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drink as much water and juice as possible – preferably four liters per day – to help counter the dehydration that causes much of the discomfort associated with fever. Fluids are also important for loosening and removing secretions and stuffiness from the body.
Fluids may also help soothe a sore throat. Alcohol and caffeine tends to dehydrate, so avoid it. To relieve a sore throat, drink plenty of fluids .Gargle with warm water (you can add salt) to help reduce any inflammation. Keep your throat moist by using a vaporizer or sucking on throat lozenges or ice cubes made from fruit juice.
For congestion, try sleeping on your back with your head raised on two or three pillows. You may find additional relief with oral and/or nasal decongestants.
For sore nose and chapped lips, apply petroleum jelly or emollient lotion. A 0.5-1% hydrocortisone cream applied three times a day may also provide relief to a red, irritated nose.