Influenza (also known as the flu) is a common infective illness caused by flu virus, a respiratory virus and that causes fever, weakness, severe aches and pains, and breathing problems. Flu can be prevented by vaccines.
Meanwhile, a common cold is also a viral infection caused by the adenovirus or coronavirus and it has subsets with a lot of variability. Unlike flu, there’s no real vaccine for cold.
Symptoms of the Influenza
– Fever or feeling feverish/chills
– Sore throat
– Runny or stuffy nose
– Muscle or body aches
– Fatigue (tiredness)
– Vomiting and diarrhea (especially children)
Colds tend to produce runny nose, congestion, sore throat. However, flu is more dangerous, it can infects the lungs, the joints and causes pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death. In other words, with the flu, you are sick all over.
Causes of the Influenza
As mentioned before, flu is caused by flu viruses which are divided into three type, designated A, B and C. While type A and B viruses cause the large seasonal outbreaks, type C viruses are responsible for milder respiratory symptoms. At present, flu vaccine is able to protect humans from types A and B, however, there is no immunization for type C virus.
Type A flu viruses can be found in different animals such as ducks, chickens, pigs, and horses, whilst, type B viruses affect humans only.
The flu is a highly contagious disease. Flu virus are usually spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people infected with influenza.
You could breathe it in, or get it from kissing your partner. Sometimes, you could get it by touching contaminated surface such as silverware, doorknobs, handles, television remotes, computer keyboards. Then, the virus enters your body when you touch your hands to your nose, eyes, or mouth.
Seriously, a healthy adult can infect others one day before they realize they are sick by symptoms. The flu virus can spread up to 7 days after a person gets sick.
Treatment for the flu focuses on relieving major symptoms until they go away. Here are some recommendations in case you get the flu.
– Take rest. Lack of sleep can result in a weak immune system, which lengthen your recovery time. Rest until flu is fully resolved, especially if the illness becomes severe.
– Drink enough fluids to avoid yourself getting dehydrated. You can look at the color of your urine to determine whether you are drinking enough or not. Normally, urine is light yellow to nearly colorless.
– Take medicine. Over-the-counter meds such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help lower fever. Children under 18 are not suggested to use Aspirin because it can lead to a serious disease called Reye syndrome.