Do I have a Cold or the Flu?

The common cold and the flu are both respiratory illness however, they are caused by different viruses. They have similar symptoms so it’s often hard to distinguish which one you have but in general the Fly is always worse than the common cold.

Flu symptoms are more intense and the common cold is a lot milder. Although this can depend on the person too and if they have any long standing health issues.

The Common Cold

A common viral infection of the nose and throat. A common cold can be caused by many different types of viruses and the condition is generally harmless and symptoms usually resolve within two weeks.

Symptoms for the Common Cold

  • Runny nose
  • sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Pain in muscles
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Head and sinus pressure
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chest pressure

Treatments for the Common Cold

Most people will recover on their own within two weeks and a lot of rest. Over-the-counter products at home can help control symptoms.

  • Nasal washing
  • Throat lozenges and Menthol
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • Antihistamine
  • Cough medicine
  • Decongestants

How does the Common Cold Spread?

  1. Spreads easily – Coughs & sneezes, touching a contaminated service, kissing or sharing drinks, handshakes or hugs.
  2. Usually self treatable
  3. Usually self diagnosable
  4. Short term

The Flu

Also called : Influenza. A common viral infection that can be deadly, especially in high risk groups. The flu attacks the lungs, nose and throat and can put younger children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems at very high risk.

Symptoms for The Flu

  • Fever and sweating
  • Chills and dehydration
  • Muscle aches
  • Cough – Can be dry of with phlegm
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Nausea

Treatments for the Flu

Treatment for the flu is treated primarily with a lot of rest and a lot of water to let the body fight the infection on its own. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers may help with symptoms. There is a flu vaccine that can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.

  • Keep water intake high!
  • A lot of bed rest and throat lozenges
  • Decongestants
  • Cough medicine
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • Analgesic and Antiviral Drug

How does the Flu spread?

  • Coughs or sneezes
  • Touching contaminated surfaces
  • Kissing or sharing drinks
  • Handshakes and hugs

Main differences between the common cold and the flu

Image Source – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for immunization and Respiratory Diseases. (NCIRD)

Cold and Flu Diet

The last thing you feel like doing when you are sick is eating. This is completely normal and it’s ok to find yourself eating less when you are sick.

You still need to eat though! Make sure you eat the right foods to provide you with energy and nutrients while you recover.

Good Foods to Eat

  • Broths
    One of the best things to eat… well… drink when you are sick. It could be chicken, beef of vegetable broth. Eat it as soon as symptoms begin right up until you start feeling better.
    Broths help prevent dehydration and the warm elements help soothe a sore throat and congestion.
  • Chicken Soup
    Chicken soup is perfect for added nutrients and protein. Just be sure to keep an eye on the salt content.
  • Garlic
    Add it to all your soups and broths. Garlic has amazing immune-enhancing effects.
  • Yoghurt
    Be sure it has a lot of live cultures and has no added sugars. Yoghurt helps soothe a sore throat.
  • Vitamin C containing Fruits like strawberries, tomatoes and citrus.

  • Leafy Greens
    Eat them raw with a drizzle of lemon and olive oil or blend them up in a smoothie.
  • Broccoli
    This green is a nutrient powerhouse and will provide immune-boosting Vitamins along with calcium and fiber. If you have a broccoli soup be sure to keep an eye on the salt content.
  • Oatmeal
  • Spices
    Certain spices, such as pepper and horseradish, can help break up congestion so you can breathe better. However, avoid spicy foods when you have a sore throat.
  • Herbal teas with honey
    You can omit the honey if you’re vegan
  • Ginger tea
    Just grate up some fresh ginger and brew for a few minutes
  • Honey and lemon tea
    Equal parts lemon juice and honey with hot water
  • 100% Juices
    Whip up some fresh juices at home. If you buy them be sure that they have no additives and no added sugars.
  • Low sugar electrolyte drinks

What to avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Hard of jagged foods
  • Processed foods

Most importantly, practice good hygiene and keep hydrated!