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Cold and Flu
Cold and Flu are among one of the most common infections of human beings. These are primarily Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI) caused by several types of viruses .The virus family that is responsible for up to 50% of colds is called Rhinovirus and it has over 100 different types. Similarly, InFluenza Virus is responsible for causing the Flu in humans .The Flu has relatively more intense symptoms than the Common Cold. Flu and Common Cold are one of the most common health problems and effects almost half of the world population every year
The symptoms of the Common Cold vary from person to person and may include:
* Blocked nose followed by a running nose
* Sore throat
* Cough (dry or wet)
* Watery eyes
* Phlegm production
* Muscle pain
The Flu has much more severe and hard hitting symptoms and may include
* High grade fever
* Muscle pain
* Sore throat
* Blocked nose
When to seek a medical advice
Usually, both Common Cold and Flu symptoms resolve spontaneously within 3-7 days without any specific medical intervention. However, some cases of Common Cold and Flu can result in the development of some serious complications such as superimposed bacterial infections of the throat, tonsils, lungs, sinuses and middle ear. If you have a high grade fever that persist for more than 3 days, breathing problem, extreme weakness, it is advised to visit the doctor as soon as possible to rule out any serious illness such as Pneumnonia, Bronchitis, Sinusitis etc.
Treatment of Cold and Flu:
The treatment is mainly supportive. Here are some tips:
- Drink plenty of Fluid to ease the symptoms of Flu and cold.
- Keep the air moist with humidifier to relieve the nose and throat discomfort
- Warm liquids such as tea and soups can calm a sore and painful throat.
- Wash your hands multiple times to avoid spreading infections.
- Pain and Fever in cold and Flu are treated by over the counter medications such as Aspirin, Paracetamol/Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.
- Antibiotics are usually not needed. They should be given only in case of bacterial infection and complications of cold and Flu such as Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Pneumonia etc.
- Nasal decongestants are used to constrict the blood vessels of nose, thereby preventing the nose from running.
- Antihistamines are also used, to treat symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and nose congestion.
- Codeine and Hydrocodone requires prescription by a doctor and are used to suppress cough.
Natural treatment and Home remedies for treating Cold and Flu
Honey: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and can speed up the recovery
Honey and Onion juice: This syrup cam ease your symptoms and boost your immune system
Honey and Basil Leaves: This mixture can reduce your fever and speed up the recovery.
Lemon water: It can ease the symptoms of cold and Flu. It can also detoxify your body and boost immune system
Ginger: It is anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation and infection. It can also boost immune system and speed up the recovery.
Garlic: It is also very effective in relieving the symptoms of cold and Flu due to its anti-septic effects.
Gargle with salt and warm water: Gargles can give temporary relief to your throat and can reduce inflammation and fever.