Flu (influenza) and cold have similar symptoms and therefore it is difficult to distinguish between them. However, there are substantial differences between the two pathological conditions, it is good to remember to determine the best method of treatment.


What is flu and what symptoms occur due to it?

Influenza is an infectious disease caused by a virus. It is present with fevers, muscle and joint pain, nasal congestion, and headaches. The flu has a high infectivity, combined with the ability of the virus to mutate from season to season. In the most fragile groups, such as the elderly and patients with chronic diseases, such as COPD, heart disease and diabetes, the flu can have serious complications.

The most common symptoms of influenza include:

  • Chills
  • Nasal congestion
  • Articular pains
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Prostration
  • Sweating
  • Dry cough


What is a cold and what symptoms occur due to it?

The common cold (also known as viral rhinosinusitis), is probably the most common disease in the world. It is a viral inflammation in the upper-digestive tract plane, and involves primarily the nose and sinuses and the pharynx. Generally it heals within 7-10 days. The fever is usually absent or very low. The microenvironment that is formed in the nose and sinuses with lowering pH values and slow mucociliary clearance promotes virulent action of bacteria that colonize the respiratory mucosa. So the bacterial infection can subentrale to the viral infection. In that case the symptoms are prolonged beyond two weeks, and mucous secretions become clear from a yellowish viscous.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever (rare)
  • Dry throat
  • Overproduction of mucus
  • Lachrymation
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • Dry cough


How to treat cold and the flu?

The treatment of the flu is best done with a period of resting in bed, and the intake of liquids which are useful to replenish those lost due to the fever. The use of drugs should be limited to analgesics (to reduce muscle and skeletal pain), antipyretic (to lower the temperature), antibiotics (only on medical advice, for suspected bacterial infections). In the case of colds, the use of nasal rinses can be made with a saline solution, you can use decongestant nasals and syrups for the cough. Analgesics such as acetaminophen are useful when the cold is associated with cefalgia.


How to prevent the flu and cold?

Both for colds that in case of influenza, prevention is essential. Against influenza, the appropriate vaccines stimulate the production of specific antibodies reducing the risk of getting sick. They should be repeated every year, especially at-risk groups. To prevent the occurrence of colds and flu, it is also good to frequently wash the hands, cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoid as much as possible any crowded places.