Colds And Flu

Colds are by far the most common illness in the world. In the United States, 90% of the population will have at least one cold per year. The flu is similar, and sometimes has the same symptoms as a cold, but is often much more severe and lasts longer. Cold and flu viruses attack the nose, nasal sinuses, throat and the upper breathing tubes (trachea and bronchi). As they invade the moist skin lining of these structures, they cause runny nose, sinus congestion, sneezing, sore throat and cough. Fever might also occur, usually with the flu. Although it Is difficult to tell the difference between colds and flu (especially in children), the following chart may help distinguish between the two.

Fever Common in children Common in children and adults
Muscle Aches Mild, infrequent Very common, often severe
Fatigue Mild, brief Can be severe and lasting several weeks
Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea Uncommon Common, especially in children
Congestion, runny nose, sore throat Common especially early stages of illness Common, but late in course of illness

The classic symptoms of above begin 1-4 days after contact with the virus and usually last 5-7 days, but can linger on. For most healthy people the difference between colds and flu aren't important. For the elderly, very young children, or otherwise susceptible people, the flu can be very serious. These people should always be seen by a doctor if the flu is suspected.

Both colds and flu are caused by viruses, and the real difference between them is simply the type of virus that causes the illness. Colds are caused by a number of different viruses, but especially rhinoviruses ("rhino" is Greek for nose, so these are "nose viruses"). Flu is caused by influenza viruses.

Colds & Flu
Children just entering school may have a dozen or more colds in one year, partly because they come into contact with many other children every day. As children grown older, they catch fewer colds because their immune systems become more experienced. Adults average only about 2-3 colds per year. Smoking greatly increases the frequency of colds in adults.
The only way to catch a cold or flu is from other people. The viruses are spread by tiny droplets in the air (such as from a cough or sneeze) or from direct contact (especially handshaking). Infected people can spread the virus from a day or two before they even have symptoms to three or four days after the symptoms start.


Unfortunately, modern medicine has not yet developed any good ways to kill these viruses once they have invaded the body. Vitamin C hasn't been proven to be of any benefit. Antibiotics only work against bacteria, which are very different from viruses. So there is no "cure" for a cold or flu. The best way to handle colds is simply to prevent them from occurring, and if that fails, to treat the unpleasant symptoms. Prevention is mainly a matter of hygiene.

To avoid spreading colds:

General measures include:

Quick Care thoroughly researches the available remedies, then selects products for recommendation. Recommendation is based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determining the active ingredients of a product to be safe and effective for the symptoms shown below. They must also meet FDA dosing guidelines, have convenient dosing schedules, and the fewest possible side effects. Quick Care also recommends separate products for children since adult medicine often is neither safe nor effective in kids. Be careful! Many medicines not listed in this brochure (but still available over-the-counter) do not meet these high standards and may be a waste of your money.

Other more serious illnesses are associated with colds and may begin with the same symptoms. It is important to see your doctor for evaluation if any of the following occurs.

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