The common cold and seasonal flu are something we all endure. Although common in all age groups, the cold and flu occur more often in children. A study has found that children suffer from these common illnesses 8 to 12 times a year.
The virus responsible for causing these illnesses is known as rhinovirus. This virus either travels in the air as visible droplets or is either present on the things we touch. If inhaled, the virus invades the protective lining of the nose, hence causing an illness. There are more than 100 different virus types. Some have grown tough over time and are difficult to cure, while others are weak and can be taken care of by our immune system.
The most common flu symptoms in adults are a runny or stuffy nose, tickling sensation in the throat, and frequent sneezing. On the other hand, children may have a sore throat, which often leads to fever. Other symptoms are coughing, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and headaches. If the cold advances to the next stage, you will see the color of nasal discharge changing from clear and watery to green and thick. The accumulation of mucus in the respiratory system is also another symptom of a cold, but it appears at a slightly advanced stage.
Once a person is exposed to the virus, the symptoms usually start appearing within two to three days. Wondering how long will the cold and flu last? The answer; around a week. But, if not taken care of, it can last up to two weeks.
Often its found that common cold prevention is not taken seriously. Mostly, cold is something that the immune system tackles on its own as it poses no imminent threat. However, if you or any of your loved ones have been through the gestation period and still aren't well, it is wise to get them checked by a doctor. Most commonly, a simple viral infection can lead to a bacterial infection such as sinusitis, asthma, ear infections, and bronchitis.
Here is a list of complications that can happen if you don’t keep an eye on things.
The spaces between your nose and head (sinuses) get inflamed to the extent that they block the passage of mucus. This is known as sinusitis. The sufferer could also experience difficulty in breathing as the passage is blocked. Moreover, because of the stoppage of mucus flow, the illness stays persistent, causing other complications like a stuffy nose and swollen eyes.
Asthma attacks occur in patients who have a history of this illness. Common cold and flu tend to make matters worse for asthma patients. They cause congestion in the lungs, and people try to cough in an attempt to expel the phlegm from their lungs. It also comes with the feeling of chest tightness and breathlessness.
Also known as a chest cold, acute bronchitis is an infection or inflammation of the airways. The most common symptom of this illness is coughing with mucus. The mucus is usually thick and yellow. Observe for changes; in its advanced stages, streaks of blood come out when the person suffering coughs.
The typical secondary infections that hit the person suffering from cold are sore throats and tonsillitis. A person suffering from a sore throat faces difficulty in swallowing or eating. Even drinking water at times becomes painful. On the other hand, tonsillitis is an infection that comes with a sore throat. It can either be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. People with tonsillitis complain of having a sore throat most of the time.
Ear infections are another complication of the common cold. Around 80% of the time, the cold virus is responsible for causing an ear infection. The remaining 20% are infections caused by a bacterial infestation. Symptoms of these infections are ear pain, difficulty sleeping, low temperature, and ear drainage.
Both cold and flu are respiratory diseases that are caused by different viruses. They have so many similarities in symptoms that it is hard to tell the difference between the two. Generally speaking, the flu is worse than the common cold, and flu symptoms and treatment must be taken seriously. Its symptoms are more intense. Moreover, a person suffering from flu has a higher chance of getting a high fever and diseases like pneumonia, or even hospitalization. Therefore, if you find any symptoms of cold or flu for more than two weeks, make sure to consult a doctor as soon as possible.