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Knowing Everything About Cold And Flu




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Common colds and influenza, or commonly known as flu, are infections of the respiratory system that are contagious. These are both airborne and can spread through sneezing and coughing. Although it typically infects the nose and the throat, colds and the flu can go worse and affect the lungs. It can even cause the worst like death, especially in young children and senior citizens who have compromised immune system.

What causes cold and flu

There are over 100 different viruses that can cause colds and the flu. The medical community and the World Health Organization combines three of the most common viruses A,B, and C, depending on the seasonal type of influenza. Type A is known as the most dangerous and contains several strains or subtypes that can affect the severity of the flu. Experts even believe that one of the Type A influenza strains caused flu outbreaks in the early and mid 1900s.

Symptoms

The symptoms posed by the common cold can be unpleasant but fortunately, not usually dangerous. Between the second and third week after the infection started, the patient may suffer from sore throat, swelling of the sinuses, headaches, buildup of phlegm and mucus causing stuffy nose, and the general feeling of being exhausted.

Flu also have the same symptoms with common cold, but there are significant differences such as high fever that occurs at a sudden onset, chills, joint pain, and muscle aches.

Diagnosis

People suffering from colds usually don’t visit the doctor for diagnosis and medications. If they do decide to go to their physician, the diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms as described by the patients. Usually, the doctor takes a sample of throat culture by swabbing the throat or nose of the patient. This is so they could rule out other serious medical conditions like strep throat and to determine other strains of flu that might be involved. However, this is only effective if the test is performed within the four days when the symptoms firs started.

Doctors can get results in just 15 minutes but rapid influenza tests can give false negatives and give negative results when in fact the patient does have influenza. Viral culture test on the otherhand, involves sending swab samples to a laboratory, with the results coming in between three to ten days. This is more accurate since the results can give information on the specific strain and type of influenza virus causing the illness.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for colds, medications can be given to relieve the symptoms or at least make them bearable. These can include pain relievers, medications for fever and cough, and nasal spray. If you’re suffering from other medical conditions or take specific prescription medications, make sure that you seek advice from your doctor first before taking any of the medications mentioned above.

Make sure that you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, and get rests as much as possible. To relieve yourself from sore throat, you can gargle with salt water to kill the bacteria. If you have a humidifier around, you can also use it to add moisture to the air to relieve nasal congestion and make it easier for you to breath.








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