General Physician and Diabetologist
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Consultant at : Gleneagles Global Hospital | Tambaram Medical Center

What is common cold

What is Common Cold

How common is Common Cold or Flu ?

Viral Infection of the upper respiratory tract commonly referred to as common cold is usually harmless. Most of us are concerned and worried about different types of infection in modern days. Its usual to see more of respiratory related illness in urban world due to dust, pollution and most importantly spread from person to person.In an highly populated country like India, we pay least attention to protect us from the rest of the world.Here are few commonly asked questions regarding cold and its symptoms.

what is Common Cold

What is flu and cold ?

The flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses .They have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is a sever form compared to common cold, unlike common cold which is not life threatening, Flu can really make you sick and create various complications and be more intense.

What are the symptoms of Flu ?

Dry or Productive cough, stuffy nose, Muscle cramps, High Grade fever, Sneezing ,chills, dehydration, fatigue, fever, flushing, loss of appetite, body ache, or sweating, chest discomfort, head congestion, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, sore throat and many more.

How dose it spread ?

Flu spreads from person to person, the are mainly airborne disease. It spreads through droplet from the infected person through touch, sneezing and coughing.One sneez can infect people 6 feet away.People who have flu from day one can start to infect people and it may continue until 5- 7 days after the illness subsides.

Who is At High Risk from Flu ?

Young Children, Pregnant Women, Known case of Lung diseases such as COPD, Bronchial Asthma, Allergic Bronchitis.People with high risk also included Diabetic, Heart and Stroke patients. Patients with immunodeficiency state, cancer, Blood disorder, Kidney Disorders and liver disorders.

Influenza Virus and Types :

There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D. Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter. Current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are H1N1 and influenza H3N2 viruses.H1N1 is also called the Swine flu which was endemic in parts of India.There was an outbreak in 2015 and still seen in some parts of India.

How can Flu be treated ?

When you are suspected to have a flu, always consult your doctor and start treatment as early as possible. Flu is treated with Anti Viral drugs , the earlier can give very good results.Anti Viral drugs play a major role in preventing complication which can be life threatening.Sometime antibiotics may be warranted if secondary infections are suspected. Symptomatic treatment includes medicines for fever, cough and decongestants.

Preventing Flu:

  • Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick if possible
  • Stay Home if you are sick, we all have social responsibility by helping us to build a healthy society.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when coughing and sneezing
  • Wash your hands, it protects your from germs and infections
  • Healthy life style, exercise regularly it helps you boot your immunity, eat healthy and stay healthy.
  • Vaccination for seasonal flu

How helpful and effective are your Vaccinations ?

Vaccination from Flu is widely available, they protect you from seasonal illness.Vaccination help you reduce frequent infection from common cold and flu.Vaccines are recommended for children above 6 months and high risk category category.They are also recommended for all category of people and help them reduce the chances of contracting flu. Talk to your doctor today and know more about the benefits of Vaccination.

When should you seek medical help ?

As I have said earlier Flu can cause serious illness and Common cold is harmless, but symptoms of both can give you a confusing picture.Its difficult to say if its flu or cold unless tested.Here are a few warning signs you should be aware of

  • Fever above 100 F or continues fever
  • Sever Sore throat and stuffy nose
  • Head ache , chills and rigours
  • Nausea and vomiting especially in children
  • Breathlessness and sever cough

Patients who should not wait to seek medical attention include:

  • 5 years and younger children ,65 year and above age group
  • Pregnant women , Chronic medical condition related to lung, heart,Kidneys and blood

For any medical help and clarification contact your Doctor. Eat Healthy and Stay safe.

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