Cold and flu – detailed symptoms

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Colds and flu have generally the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat) but are caused by different viruses.

The flu can be more serious than the cold. If a person is fit and has a good health, could keep control of flu and cold events without medical assistance.

However, some people need extra care, especially if they are at risk of serious pulmonary complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. In this category are people over 65, and children.

There’s a reason for every sneeze, pain and cough. Find out why your body manifests in this manner and discover the most important ways to improve health.


1. Overview
2. Contact the doctor
3. Cold and flu symptoms
4. Sneezing
5. Chills and fever
6. Sore throat
7. Sinus pressure
8. Cough
9. Body aches

Contact the doctor

People over 65 years, and children should seek medical attention if:
- Report discomfort or manifestations of cardiovascular disease or asthma
- Have kidney or liver problems
- Have diabetes
- Have low immunity due to conditions or treatments
- Have suffered a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

All persons who may be part of the high risk group should seek the doctor advice about flu vaccine because the vaccination is the best way to protect against the virus.

Cold and flu symptoms

There are over two hundred viruses that cause colds and three that cause flu. There are also several strains of influenza viruses and influenza vaccine content changes every year to protect against the most common strains.

1. Colds – Symptoms of colds include:
- Runny nose, clear mucus that turns into thick mucus, yellow or green
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Sneezing
- Cough

People who suffering from cold may manifest fever, earaches and headaches, fatigue. Symptoms appear one to two days after the virus was contacted and worsens gradually. Some types of colds can last one to two weeks.

2. Influenza (Flu) – usually it occurs faster than cold and symptoms include:
- Fever of 39-40 degrees Celsius, with sudden onset
- Muscle pain
- Sweat
- Exhaustion
- Fatigue
- Cough
- Sneezing


What it means. Body expel bacteria and other particles from the air by sudden eliminating of the air from the chest. Do not try to abstain to sneeze because in this way the body tries to evict irritants.

When to worry about. If sneezing interferes with normal actions or if sneezing persists after other symptoms of flu or colds are gone, you should consult a doctor to find out if an allergy could cause sneezing.

Home treatment methods. Use of antiviral drugs help prevent the spread of viruses. For the same purpose, it is advisable to wash hands after sneezing after you putted the hand to the mouth.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Some types of antihistamines (the sedating) can reduce sneezing reflex, but most experts recommend that this symptom is rather harmless, so is not treated specially.

Chills and fever

What it means. Chills are how the body generates heat when it feels cold. Chills and fever usually precedes the method by which the body defends against a virus.

When to worry about. Contact your doctor if the temperature exceeds 38.5 degrees Celsius, if the fever persists for more than 72 hours without fail or if you develop shortness of breath or dizziness.

Home treatment methods. It is recommended generous fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Also, swabbing body sponge with warm water can improve your overall discomfort.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen may reduce fever.

Sore throat

What it means. Are present postnasal drip that causes irritation and sore throat.

When to worry about. If there are severe difficulties in swallowing or breathing, contact your doctor to rule out a more serious condition such as a bacterial infection.

Home treatment methods. Gargle with warm salt water soothes pain and feeling of irritation can be relieved by drinking caffeine-free liquids, teas and soups.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen help reduce inflammation.

Sinus pressure

What it means. The mucus accumulated in the nasal passages block sinus, without running properly.

When to worry about. If fever greater than 38.5 degrees Celsius is likely to be involved a bacterial infection, that should be treated with antibiotics.

Home treatment methods. It will keep sinuses moist by using a humidifier or inhaling fumes from a container filled with hot water.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Decongestant sprays can help relieve congestion and inflammation.


What it means. Coughing is a reflex of the throat that triggers when excessive mucus in the respiratory tract irritates the nerve endings.

When to worry about. If breathing is difficult and cough accompanied by blood or discolored mucus could be involved bronchitis, sinusitis or pneumonia.

Home treatment methods. In most cases, cough medicine proved to be ineffective, but soothe irritated throat with candy or hot liquids could improve the situation.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Products containing pseudoephedrine can have a positive effect but could trigger drowsiness. Naproxen can reduce throat inflammation.

Body aches

What it means. More common with the flu, body aches are a sign that the body is releasing chemicals that help white blood cells to fight infection.

When to worry about. Only when the pain causes disability status, which is rarely seen in the case of a flu or cold.

Home treatment methods. Rest and warm baths may be helpful for relieving muscle pain. Some hot water bottles placed all around the sick person might have the same effect.

Medicines obtained without a prescription. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may relieve pain.



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