Common health issue

What’s the difference between a cold and the flu? Symptoms, Remedies & Treatment

Common cold

What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?

Both “common cold and the flu” may appear very similar at first. Common colds and the flu are both respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms. However, severe viruses cause these two problems, and your symptoms will gradually help you differentiate between the two.

Common cold and the flu (both) can share a few common symptoms. Most people with either illness often experience:-

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • General fatigue

As a rule, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms. Common colds rarely cause additional health issues or problems. However, the flu can lead to sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, sepsis, and other infections. However, it would help if you saw your health consultant to determine whether your symptoms are from a cold or the flu. Your health consultant will run tests to help determine what’s behind your symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a cold?

Typically, symptoms of a cold take a few days to appear. Knowing the difference between symptoms of a cold and the flu can help you decide how to treat your condition and whether you need to see your health consultant. Nasal symptoms may include:-

  • Congestion
  • Sinus pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Sneezing
  • Watery nasal secretions

However, head symptoms may include:-

  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Similarly, whole-body symptoms may consist of:-

  • Fatigue or general tiredness
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chest discomfort
  • Breathing difficulty

Cold remedies for adults

However, if you are feeling cold symptoms, you’re likely looking for relief. Cold remedies for adults fall into two main categories:

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines

However, the most common cold treatments include decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers. If you are taking one, read the label and understand what you are using so you don’t accidentally use more than you should of any one drug class.

Home remedies

The most valuable and common home remedies for a cold include gargling with saltwater, rest, and staying hydrated. Also, some research shows that herbs like echinacea may be helpful and effective at reducing cold symptoms. However, these remedies don’t cure or treat a common complex problem. Instead, these remedies can make symptoms less relentless and easier to manage.

Cold remedies for children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t recommend that children under 4 take over-the-counter cold medicines. Similarly, some health consultants stretch that recommendation to age 6. If you have any queries, talk with your child’s health consultant. Ease a child’s cold symptoms with these treatments:-

  • Rest
  • Hydration
  • Food
  • Salt gargles
  • Warm baths etc.

Options for cold medication

However, the most effective and common OTC cold medicines for adults and children over the age of 6 include decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers. Decongestant medicine help eases nasal congestion and stuffiness problems. Antihistamines medicine reduces sneezing and relieves runny noses. And, pain relievers ease the general body aches that sometimes go with a cold.

The most common side effects from over-the-counter cold medications may include:-

  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Headache

However, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should consult your health consultant before using any OTC cold medications. Certain cold medications help relieve symptoms by narrowing blood vessels and decreasing blood flow. If you have high blood pressure, HBP (high blood pressure) may affect blood flow throughout your body.

Diagnosing a cold

Diagnosing a cold barely requires a trip to your health consultant’s office. However, if you can recognize symptoms of a cold is often all you need to diagnose yourself. Of course, if symptoms worsen or persist after about a week, you may need to see your health consultant.

If you have a common cold problem, you can expect the causing virus to work out in about a week to 10 days. And, If you have the flu, this virus may take the same period to be lost of view entirely, but if you observe symptoms getting worse after day five, or if they’ve not disappeared in a week, you may have chosen another option.