Preventing Severe Complications from Colds and Flus
Whether cold or flu, the symptoms are similar: both are caused by viruses and must run their course. Because they are viral diseases, they do not respond to antibiotics. Although both cold and flu symptoms affect the respiratory tract, the symptoms of the flu are more pronounced and its complications more severe. If you are in good health, the flu will probably pass with no complications after a week or so of bedrest and home care for cold symptoms.
- Fluids are especially important to help avoid dehydration from fever and to help loosen respiratory tract secretions.
- You need to give yourself time to fully recuperate from the flu and prevent the development of secondary infections that can cause bronchitis, sinusitis, or pneumonia.
Colds and flu occur most commonly in school-aged children, but its most severe effects are felt by infants, the elderly, and people with chronic ailments.
|Fever||Rare or Low||Characteristics: high (100.4-104°F), sudden onset, lasts 3-4 days||May or may not be high|
|General aches and pains||Slight||Usual, often quite severe||Occasional|
|Fatigue and weakness||Quite mild||Extreme, can last up to a month||May occur depending on type|
|Exhaustion||No||May occur early and prominent||May occur depending on type|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Common||May occur||Not characteristic|
|Sneezing||Usual||May occur||Not characteristic|
|Sore throat||Common||May occur||Not characteristic|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Mild to moderate||Can become severe||Frequent and may be severe hacking cough|
|Complications||Sinus and ear infections||Bronchitis, pneumonia, and can be life threatening||Widespread infections of other organs can be life-threatening, especially in elderly and debilitated patients|