Cold versus Flu

Medical science has stopped the spread of many infectious diseases around the world, but has yet to find the cure for the common cold. There are 200 plus viruses that cause a cold, which affects the lining of your nose and other passages leading to your lungs. The classic signs start with a scratchy throat, a runny or stuffy nose, followed by sneezing and a possible cough.

The common cold is spread mostly through person-to-person contact. If you touched something that has been touched by an infected person, then rub your nose, you have transferred the virus from the object you touched to yourself. The cold virus can be acquired from objects such as pens, books, and doorknobs. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours.

Washing your hands has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of spreading cold viruses. Wash your hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. Or use an instant hand sanitizer that uses alcohol to destroy germs without any soap or water.

The flu has similar symptoms to the cold but the flu...

  • Comes on suddenly
  • Fever
  • Aches and pain
  • Can last for 10 days
  • There is a vaccine

Although there is no cure for the common cold there are ways to relieve your symptoms. First get some rest and drink plenty of fluids. Drinking hot liquids can soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus through your nasal passage faster. Grandmother’s chicken soup rates the best.

When considering over-the-counter medicines read and thoroughly understand the information on the package. Look for products that target to your symptoms. These won't actually shorten the length of a cold, but can help you feel better. Meanwhile, get some rest and drink plenty of fluids.

These titles from our digital collections can help you decide if you have the flu or the common cold.

Review provided by OverDrive
While influenza is now often thought of as a common and relatively mild disease, it still kills over 30,000 people in the US each year. Dr. Jeremy Brown, currently Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health, expounds on the flu's deadly past to solve the mysteries that could protect us from the next outbreak. In the "gripping...extensively researched" (Gail D'Onofrio MD, Yale School of Medicine) Influenza, he talks with leading epidemiologists, policy makers, and the researcher who first sequenced the genetic building blocks of the original 1918 virus to offer both a comprehensive history and a roadmap for understanding what's to come.

Review provided by Hoopla
"The Man Behind The Mask: Why I Choose To Not Receive The Flu Shot" details the many issues related to mandatory flu shots for healthcare workers and why the author chose to wear a mask during flu season in lieu of receiving the flu shot. Topics include analysis of the size and scope of the flu, flu shot science, how flu shots are studied and evaluated, documented harm from the flu shot, legislation and financial implications associated with mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers, pharmaceutical corruption, and informed consent. This is thorough analysis useful for anyone considering the flu shot, especially for healthcare workers, health system administrators and policy makers.

Review provided by Hoopla
With the 2009 outbreak of the deadly H1N1 flu, popularly known as "swine flu," people across the globe crowded emergency rooms and clinics for treatment. During outbreaks, schools shut down and parents stayed home from work as the flu spread across the United States. But the best prevention method touted over and over again was profoundly simple: "Hand washing is a cheap, easy and effective way to avoid catching...the flu" reports USA TODAY, the Nation's No. 1 Newspaper. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, hand washing "has a huge positive health impact." H1N1 and other types of influenza (flu) affect millions of people around the world every year.

Review provided by Hoopla
Since 1973, Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions designed to help readers master dozens of country living skills quickly and easily. There are now more than 170 titles in this series, and their remarkable popularity reflects the common desire of country and city dwellers alike to cultivate personal independence in everyday life.

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