Colds and flu are caused by viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, ears and sinuses. While the peak season for catching a cold is winter, colds and flu aren’t in fact caused by exposure to cold temperatures and wet air. In fact, they can even be caused by your home’s heating which dries out the moist mucosa in your nose. It’s this mucosa that acts as an important defense against invading viruses that cause colds and flu.
What’s the difference between colds and flu?
A cold normally develops gradually and causes a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, mild fever and tiredness. It usually lasts up to about seven days, and you can continue to function.
The flu is caused by the influenza virus and thrives during June to September. There are three major types of flu virus: A, B and C. Flu usually affects the whole body, with symptoms including;
It can last a week or more and takes a lot longer to get over, and you generally can't continue to function.
Popular ways to treat colds and flu
There are no cures for the common cold. And even though you may not feel good, most colds aren't too nasty so you can relieve them at home with pain and fever relievers. Ibuprofen - the active ingredient in Nurofen – can help lower a temperature. Other ways you can relieve colds and flu symptoms include:
- Using decongestant rubs, vaporisers or inhalers
- Drinking plenty of fluids including hot drinks, like honey and lemon
- Keeping warm
Do not use if you have a stomach ulcer.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful.
If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.