Fever and Flu
What is the difference between flu and a common cold?
Since a flu can mimic a common cold, it’s important to know the differences between the two.
- A common cold causes some discomfort, low grade fever and nasal stuffiness. It tends to resolve within a week.
- A flu can cause similar complaints. In addition, in a flu the person tends to have fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, severe muscle pain and extreme tiredness. There might also be a cough, sore throat and even an upset stomach. The symptoms can last for a few weeks.
How does flu spread?
Flu is a contagious condition, which means that it can spread from one person to another by touching, sneezing and sharing objects of personal hygiene, like towels.
Can there be any complications?
- Though most people recover well from a bout of flu, it can cause serious complications in certain people, and can even be fatal.
- Older people, young children, pregnant women and those with diabetes or a weak immune system are prone to pneumonia and even chances of the infection spreading to the blood.
How can I know if I have the flu?
Flu can cause
- Muscle pains
- Sore throat
When should I see the doctor?
In case you have symptoms of a cold, but with severe bodyache and fever, it would be a good idea to get it checked by your doctor, especially if you don’t feel better after a couple of days.
How is flu managed?
- Generally, the doctor might advise a medicine like acetaminophen for pain and fever.
- An X ray of the chest might also be advised, to be sure that there is no lung infection
- In severe infections, the doctor might prescribe anti-viral medicines too.
- In case you have been exposed to a patient who has flu, your doctor might prescribe a course if anti viral medicines, especially if you are in the bracket that is more prone to getting the flu.
What precautions should be taken?
- It is best to avoid self-medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are avoided in a flu as they can cause irritation of the gut lining and even lead to bleeding from the gut.
- Frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds is very helpful in preventing the spread of flu.
- It is also beneficial to wear a face mask, especially if you are in crowded places.
Can flu be prevented?
It is possible to prevent getting the flu by taking an immunization shot annually. The vaccine result in the production of antibodies within two weeks which protect against the flu. A child who is getting the vaccine for the first time gets two doses one month apart.
We advocate consulting a healthcare provider before starting any treatment regime.
Treatment of cold and flu
- getting plenty of rest
- drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration
- keeping warm
- eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke if possible
- inhaling steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room to help relieve a blocked nose – remember to always directly supervise children near hot water
If you have a sore throat follow the below treatment
- gargling with warm salty water
- sucking on an ice cube, ice block or a throat lozenge
- drinking hot water with honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice
Medicines available to ease cold and flu symptoms are as below:
Antibiotics do not treat a cold. This is because they only treat illnesses caused by bacteria, while colds and flu are caused by viruses. However, you can buy medicines to help with pain and fever from the pharmacy.