The Onslaught — How The Cold And Flu Attack
The first thing to know about viruses is that antibiotics won’t do a thing to get rid of them. They are just around waiting to be caught, and then must be endured. When someone infected with a virus coughs or sneezes and we breathe in the surrounding air containing droplets of the virus, or if we touch a doorknob or keyboard with the virus on it (and then touch our mouth, nose, or eyes), we can get the cold or flu.
Symptom Breakdown — Here’s How To Tell The Difference
Fevers are common with the flu and rare for a cold. And, while people who have a cold may feel somewhat fatigued, a flu sufferer is likely to experience extreme exhaustion — like can’t-get-out-of-bed-period exhaustion.
Tackling the Beast — How To Treat A Cold Or Flu
Like we said before, there’s no cure for the flu or the common cold. Thankfully there are ways to deal with symptoms. When a cold strikes, over-the-counter cold and cough medicines can ease the brunt of congestion, runny nose, and throat discomfort. Look for antihistamines, decongestants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (i.e. ibuprofen). It’s also a good idea to rest and drink plenty of fluids.
What To Know For Next Time — How To Prevent The Cold & Flu
While there’s no vaccine for the common cold (yet), the flu is another story. The Centers for Disease Control highly recommend everyone older than six months get a flu shot every year. People at a higher risk for complications that come with the flu (those aged 50 or up, pregnant women, children, those with asthma or other lung conditions) should be extra sure to get inoculated. Though there are plenty of excuses to skip it — you think it's a hassle, you don't like needles, or you worry about side effects — keep in mind the shot protects not only you, but anyone you come in contact with, too. (Speaking of possible side effects: They are generally mild and may include fatigue and soreness at the injection site.) “Even if you didn’t get sick last year, it’s a good idea to get the shot every single year,” Susman says. “And, the thought is that getting immunized every year helps a person build up protection against upcoming flu viruses.”