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Cold And Flu Whats the Difference?

Cold And Flu Whats the Difference?

It can often be difficult to distinguish between a cold and “the flu.” Often times they share many of the same symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and sore throat.
A cold is one of the most common health conditions and is a term used to refer to a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways that can occur in both children and adults. It generally resolves by itself but may last for up to two weeks and in
A cold can cause a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sore throat and a cough. People who have a cold become contagious and can spread the infection 2-3 days prior to their symptoms developing and remain contagious until after their symptoms have passed.
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal pain and irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite
Less common symptoms:
  • High temperature
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste and smell
“The Flu” is a highly contagious illness caused by the influenza virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways which results in the characteristic symptoms of the flu such as a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains. It can be spread from person to person through small droplets of saliva coughed or sneezed so good hygiene is essential to prevent passing to others. The symptoms of “the flu” generally last for up to a week but can leave you feeling drained and tired for a number of weeks.
  • Sudden fever (a temperature of 38°C or above)
  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Chills and sweats
  • Aching muscles
  • Diarrhoea or stomach upset
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

There are many different products available for the relief of symptoms of cold and flu. Treatment is generally tailored towards the severity of the symptoms present.
In order to treat the pain associated with the cold and flu over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can be used to relieve a headache, high temperature and any body aches and pains. Children under the age of 16 should not take aspirin, and ibuprofen is not recommended for people with asthma.

Combination products containing paracetamol and a decongestant such as Sinutab, Benylin Day and Night and Nurofen Cold and Flu are particularly useful when headache and nasal congestion are the main symptoms. Decongestant nasal sprays or drops containing Psudoephedrine or Xylmetazoline such as Sudafed and Otrivine may be useful for relieving a blocked nose and for helping you to breathe more easily. Decongestants however also have a stimulant effect and may cause sleeplessness and are not recommended in people with high blood pressure.
Pharmacists Tips:

  • If you are feeling run-down or are suffering from regular colds or flu, taking a multi-vitamin such as Revive Active or a herbal supplement like Echinacea can help to boost the immune system.
  • Have an annual Influenza vaccine
  • Drink plenty of water
  • If you suffer from allergies take your medication regularly
  • Products containing menthol oil (Olbas oil, Vicks) can be used on night clothes or inhaled in steam over a bowl of hot water to ease nasal congestion
  • If cough is persistent and is particularly bad at night it is best to consult GP as it may be an early sign of asthma

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