PAMPLON With the flu approaching the epidemic threshold in Spain, with almost 48 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the latest monitoring system report prepared by Carlos III Health Institute, Spaniards face the same dilemma every year: distinguish between flu and cold. According to the CinfaSalud III study, "The perception and habits of the Spanish population around cold and flu", one in ten is still unclear.
"Indeed, the discomfort caused by cold and flu is easily confused because both pathologies affect the airways and the first symptoms may be similar," says doctor J. Masets. Cold or catarrh is a mild disease, but in some cases, complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia may occur in some risk groups. For this reason, it is important to know how to distinguish between them and to treat each one in an appropriate way.
The Laboratory Study finds that three out of four Spaniards say they suffer from any of these abnormalities at least once a year and half of them say they suffer from one or two colds or flu every year. Even one in five Spaniards catch three or more times. So "more than ever at this time when some of them are getting rid of the disease, it's good to know if we're facing a cold or something more serious," says Dr. Julio Maset, Cinfa Doctor.
If there is no high fever, it is not flu
First of all, both diseases cause different types of viruses: flu causes flu, but cold can cause more than 200 types, such as rhinovirus and coronavirus, which cause almost half of the cases. . In addition, although both last from one week to ten days, the influenza incubation period (48 to 72 hours) is longer than the cold period (18 to 36 hours).
However, the biggest difference is its symptoms. How does Dr. Masets, "Flu-like processes tend to be high fever that can appear suddenly and reach up to forty degrees. Other common symptoms include muscular pain, headache, intense fatigue, weakness, and general feeling unwell. Nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing are not common. In contrast, colds are characterized by typical sneezing, cough with mucus, nasal congestion with fluid, watery and rich mucus, itchy throat and watery eyes. Although there is also a discomfort, fatigue is usually mild or moderate, and fever is unusual or low. "
The symptoms of these two common problems can be alleviated by relaxation, proper hydration and appropriate medication prescribed by a healthcare professional. "The most important thing, as the Cinfa expert concludes, is to treat symptoms and stop the spread of cold and flu. Don't forget that simple habits like hand washing often, cold avoidance and drinking of many fruits and vegetables can save us and the environment."
Tips to prevent and reduce cold and flu symptoms:
Avoid direct or very close contact with people who are ill. A little distance and hygiene habits are very effective in avoiding pollution. To expand your home cleaning and properly ventilated house, a local or office building is highly recommended these days.
Wash your hands frequently. Take it with soap and water for at least fifteen seconds, paying special attention to the area between your fingers and under the nails, and when you cough or sneeze in your empty hand. It is also convenient to clean the home surfaces with antibacterial agents.
Cover yourself when you sneeze and cough. Avoid sneezing or coughing in the air or with yourself, which is a widespread practice. Viruses are transmitted by small drops that are expelled by coughing or sneezing. Therefore, washing our hands and covering the nose and mouth with tissue to be discarded in the waste paint immediately after coughing or sneezing is of great importance. Also, do not use your eyes, nose or mouth frequently, especially if your hands have been in contact with contaminated surfaces.
Flee in a cold, humid or smoke environment. Because these viruses prefer low temperatures and humidity, avoid prolonged cold exposure and sudden temperature changes and excessive cold drinks. Stop smoking as tobacco further irritates the neck and mucous membranes, as well as smoke from other smokers.
Keep the rest when you are sick. Sleeping hours, at least 7 or 8 days, allow the body to regain strength, especially when fever occurs
Include vitamins and minerals in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are sources of vitamins and minerals that help develop protection. By giving them your diet, you will recover faster.
Drink liquids frequently. Water, juices and soups that are not too hot will help prevent mucus, prevent dehydration and reduce sore throat. Avoid alcoholic beverages, especially because they can create a false sense of heat and improperly expose you to cold.
Gargle with hot water with lemon and honey. Its emulsifying action calms the neck pain. Despite popular belief, it is recommended to use water over milk with honey, as milk can increase mucus.
He goes to the nose wash. Make them with seawater aerosols or salt water. You can also make wishes with eucalyptus smoke. In the case of young children, it is advisable to rinse the nose with salt solution 15 minutes before meals and before bed so that they can rest properly.
Do not use antibiotics unless your doctor prescribes it. In addition to being ineffective against colds and flu because they cause viruses rather than bacteria, they can lead to an increase in bacterial resistance and often threaten the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future. However, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about flu, decongestants, or analgesics that relieve the symptoms of these diseases.