A common confusion that people face when they suffer from a running nose is whether they have a common cold or the flu. Common cold and flu are so similar in lots of aspects that it’s very easy to get confused.
In 2017-18 around 48.8 million people suffered from Flu, causing 79400 deaths1 It was the worst flu epidemic since 20092.
Two years ago I suffered from the Flu. I know you may think it’s unlikely for a doctor to be struck with the flu. Here’s what happened. It started with a fever, running nose, throat pain and I did what everyone else does. I took the standard cold medication and hoped it would pass. After 3 days I was suffering from high-grade fever with chills. I was having difficulty climbing stairs even up to the first floor. I just sat on the steps stupefied and realized I had contracted the flu. Thanks to government policies, free test kits and medications were available in my hospital and I got cured after a week’s stay in the hospital. After that episode, I get flu shots every year and I never underestimate any cold bout.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
I’ll share a few facts about the Flu and cold with you all so that you can differentiate between them.
What is the Flu?
Table of Contents
Flu is an infectious, rapid spreading & potentially dangerous respiratory infection caused by a virus.
What causes the Flu?
Flu is caused by Influenza3 while the common cold is caused by Rhinovirus6.
Influenza is responsible for seasonal flu epidemics every year.
Which is the common season?
For both cold and flu, the most common season is Fall & Winters, peak time being October and February.
How do I know if I have the flu or the common cold?4
When should I visit the doctor?
Any suspicion of Flu warrants medical attention but if you have these symptoms then a visit to the doctor is mandatory:
- Continuous/High-grade fever with or without chills lasting for more than 3 days
- Difficulty in eating
- Severe cough
- Difficulty in breathing/ chest pain
- Severe headache
- Get Flu Vaccination once a year
- Use hand sanitizer/ wash hands
- Maintain good hygiene
- Take steam as it provides an unfavorable environment for the virus.
Who should get vaccinated?
Flu Vaccine is the first line of defense. Everyone above 6 months of age can get vaccinated.
- Children >6 months of age.
- Pregnant women
- Adults age 65 and older
- People with chronic health conditions like asthma, cancer, renal diseases, etc.
- Those who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
Caution advised before vaccination7:
- For children less than 6 months of age
- People with life-threatening allergies
- People with egg allergies
- Severely immune-compromised people
- Suffered from Guillain Barre Syndrome.
To know more, ask your pediatrician about the Flu Vaccination.
I hope I’ve covered a few of your queries. Feel free to ask any questions. I’ll certainly answer it as soon as possible. Ask your pediatrician about the flu vaccine today. #IPromiseToStopFlu for my child. You?
More Infographic Information here: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cold-or-flu-infographic
Be Healthy, Be Happy.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views solely of the blogger. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child’s health should be done after consultation with your doctor. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields means the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. Living herself or the authors should be in no way held responsible in that case.
- Shrestha SS, Swerdlow DL, Borse RH, Prabhu VS, Finelli L, Atkins CY, et al. Estimating the Burden of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) in the United States (April 2009–April 2010). Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(suppl_1):S75-S82.