Cold And Flu


Overview Of Cold And Flu

The common cold is a viral infection that requires symptomatic treatment. It is usually self-limiting. Influenza is often referred to as the flu. There are several differences between the common cold and the flu, including the onset of the condition as influenza is typically more acute in onset and more debilitating. Treatment of both these conditions requires a symptomatic approach that should be evidence-based, including herbal remedies, over-the-counter medicines, antiviral agents, and analgesics for pain and fever.

Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.

Symptoms Of Cold And Flu


The symptoms of cold are generally mild compared to more aggressive viruses like the flu.

A cold can cause any or all of these symptoms:

•Runny or stuffy nose

•Cough (mild)

•Fatigue (sometimes)


•Watery eyes

•Sore throat

•Headaches (rarely)

•Aches and pains

Most over-the-counter medications have, at best, moderate effects on cold symptoms. A typical cold will last on average 7 to 10 days. The majority of the symptoms are not caused by the infection itself, but rather our body’s immune system trying to get rid of it. Most cold viruses will go away if we’re patient and give our bodies time to fight them. The immune system is the greatest defense against the common cold.


Seasonal influenza (flu) is still active and generally comes on fast and furious. It’s a common respiratory infection caused by a virus that affects the nose, throat, and lungs and can last from 5 to 7 days.

Here’s are some common symptoms of the flu:

•Fever and/or chills

•Cough (usually dry)


•Aches and pains

•Runny or stuffy nose (sometimes)

•Sore throat (sometimes)

•Diarrhea (sometimes in children)

Unlike colds or coronavirus, vaccination is a good way to prevent the flu. If you received a flu shot and still get the flu, The symptoms are generally milder than if you didn’t receive the flu shot. Most people with the flu get well without medical treatment.

Treatment Of Cold And Flu

No medicine can “cure” colds and flu. However, there are many over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that can ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms of colds and flu. Besides, there are prescription medicines and a vaccine that can treat and prevent the flu.

Note on antibiotics: Colds and the flu are caused by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat and ear, skin, and urinary tract infections. Using antibiotics for infections they are not able to treat makes the antibiotics less effective for infections they are supposed to treat (a situation called antibiotic resistance). Never take antibiotics to treat colds and flu.

To ease the discomfort from specific cold and flu symptoms, consider using the following types of OTC medicines:

•To reduce fever and pain — analgesics

•To dry out the nose — antihistamines

•To relieve a stuffy, clogged nose — decongestants

•To relieve a runny nose or sinus pressure — nasal steroids

•To make blowing the nose easier or loosening cough/mucus production — expectorants

•To reduce coughing — antitussives

•To relieve a sore throat

•For other symptoms


Difference between cold and flu


  • Appears gradually
  • Affects mainly the nose and throat
  • Makes you feel unwell, but you’re OK to carry on as normal (for example, go to work)


  • Appears quickly within a few hours
  • Affects more than just the nose and throat
  • Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal