Nov 3, 2011
Is it a cold or the flu?
How do you know if it’s a cold or the flu? Generally the flu causes a high fever with severe muscle aches and a dry severe cough. Colds tend to be milder than the flu but can turn into a sinus infection or bronchitis if not dealt with early. Please refer to the chart below.
Cold vs Flu symptoms: Cold Flu
Fever rare/mild high 102º or higher
Chills rare yes
Headache rare yes
Muscle aches mild severe
Fatigue mild long lasting/extreme
Congested nose/sinuses often yes
Runny nose often occasional
Sneezing often occasional
Sore throat often occasional
Cough mild/hacking severe, dry
Ninety percent of all colds are due to viral infections and the flu is also caused by a virus. And antibiotics do not work for viral illnesses. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Overuse of antibiotics has created bacterial resistance. So what should you do if you feel a cold coming on?
Get as much rest as possible – Many people ignore the early signs of illness and keep working until they drop. You will take longer to heal if you allow the illness to get a foothold.
Drink plenty of Fluids – Herbal teas such as licorice, elder, ginger, mullein and soups such as chicken or miso soup can help clear the bug out of you system. We formulate a very good Cold & Flu tea that our patients love for winter.
Start taking anti-viral herbs as soon as possible. A combination is the best. These should include Echinacea, Astragalus, Licorice, Osha, Schisandra, Elderberry and Goldenseal. Zinc (30 mg/day) has been shown to reduce the duration of a cold. The homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum can work very well for shortening your flu symptoms if taken the first 24 to 48 hrs of the onset of the flu.
How can you reduce your susceptibility of getting a cold or flu?
Wash your hands frequently. As hand contact is a primary route of virus spreading. Avoid shaking hands with people. Also, keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes as much as possible.
Keep your stress levels as low as possible. Get sufficient rest and sleep.
Reduce and avoid smoking, alcohol and an unhealthy diet. Cut back on sugar, white flour and refined carbohydrates as much as possible.
Take a good multiple vitamin with the antioxidants vitamin A, C, E and selenium. Vitamin D and probiotics has been shown to be very effective in preventing the flu and building up one’s immune system.
If possible limit the amount of time around sick people another reason to stay home when you’re sick to avoid infecting others.