Learn about common colds

Do I have a cold or the flu?

Cold and flu have slightly different symptoms because they are caused by different viruses. However, because of the similarities, it’s often hard to tell if you’re suffering from a cold or flu. The obvious difference is that flu can cause more severe symptoms.

Cold symptoms often begin with a sore throat and build over one or two days. It typically involves nasal symptoms and congestion along with a cough. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.

Flu symptoms, on the other hand, come on more quickly than cold symptoms. Symptoms of flu include fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, congestion and cough. Most cold symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it's not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. Flu symptoms normally last between 7-14 days but you may feel unwell for up to 3 weeks.

All about COLDS

Most of us will catch a cold 2 to 4 times a year. But did you ever wonder what exactly a cold is? Simply, it’s a contagious viral infection that can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. It can be spread by the airborne droplets of coughs and sneezes. A person can be contagious from the day before the illness breaks out until 1 to 3 days after they feel better. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 3 days after infection and include;

  • blocked nose
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • tiredness

All about FLU

Flu is not the same as the common cold. Flu is caused by a completely different virus, the influenza virus. The symptoms of the flu, although similar, are more severe and tend to last longer than a cold. A person can be contagious one day before until 7 days after the onset of symptoms. You are most contagious during the first one to two days after symptoms develop. Flu normally last between 7-14 days but you may feel unwell for up to 3 weeks. Symptoms typically include;

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • congestion
  • cough

How to prevent

Cold & flu is spread by inhaling the virus, or by touching infected objects, such as pens, keyboards and phones, and then touching your eyes or mouth. So preventing it begins with cleaning your hands regularly. And when you think about it, that’s a healthy habit to get into any time, as, is staying fit to help your immune system fight off infection. You might also want to avoid crowded places where the risk of catching someone else’s cold may be higher.

How to relieve your blocked nose

When you’re suffering from a cold or flu, you’ll do just about anything to get rid of it. If blowing your nose alone isn’t providing sufficient relief, you might consider using a decongestant nasal spray. Otrivin contains the active ingredient xylometazoline that helps to open up and clear nasal passages by reducing swollen blood vessels.

Alternative options may include trying nasal irrigation or using steam treatments and air humidifiers. Some people even take to eating really spicy foods to relieve congestion.

No matter what you decide to do, don’t forget to drink plenty of liquids to keep you hydrated. Many people believe antibiotics can help with their cold or flu. Antibiotics work specifically against bacteria and not viruses and so won't affect your cold or flu. Thankfully Otrivin® nasal sprays can help unblock your nose making life more bearable.

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