Protecting Yourself this Winter – Common Cold and Flu

It’s that time of the year where the colds and dreadful flu that can really slow you down are just lurking about. The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself. In this article I will be going over the symptoms, treatment and how to prepare yourself against the common cold and flu.

What is the difference between a cold and a flu?

The main difference between the common cold and the flu is how they are spread and the seriousness of it. With the cold it can mean stuffy noses for a week, with the flu it can mean nausea and vomiting for up to two weeks – not including complications.

cold and a flu

Cold symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Mucus
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing

Flu symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing
  • Congestion

It’s important to just take your temperature and analyze all your symptoms. If you have a fever it’s a sure sign of the flu and means you need to be more serious in getting better. With the flu the symptoms hit within the first week on the fourth or fifth day. With a cold the symptoms usually start with a sore throat and the rest fall in that same week.


The best way to avoid a cold and flu is to wash your hands. Your hands are always touching things and this is a major way to spread germs and to receive them as well. By washing your hands thoroughly you are preventing any of these awful winter bugs from sneaking up on you. The best way to not get sick this winter season is to stay away from people who happen to be sick. The fact that is winter means germs will be wandering around longer – be sure to take extra precautions.

Treatment for the flu: Decongestants, pain relievers, and fever reducers. They are perfect if your really congested, have a lot of muscle pains, and have a really high fever. If your symptoms continue for over a week and a half you should see a doctor as it could now be pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection or something life-threatening. If this is the case, they can prescribe antibiotics or give you the necessary shots to make you better.

Treatment for cold: There are many over the counter medicines such as Ny-Quil that specialize in relieving you of cold symptoms. You can also take any pain reliever or fever reducing medicines. The complications that can occur is sinus congestion and an ear infection. Like the flu if your having this cold for a while check with your doctor to be sure it’s just a cold.

Some helpful tips regardless if it’s a cold or flu is to rest. Resting can help the body recover very quickly. Drinking lots of fluids can also help the body. Try drinking teas, Gatorade or even just plain water. Staying hydrated is very important. Finally, avoid others when your sick. You don’t want to be the one to spread whatever you have. This means if you need to take that day off from school, work, or miss a party – be sure too. Your health is not to have jeopardized.