They are the typical seasonal illnesses, but they can also hit in the summer. Flu and cold are often confused, but they present substantial differences. At the first symptoms such as airway congestion and sneezing, the two conditions occur in very similar ways. The cold is a condition usually caused by an acute viral infection that affects the nose and throat. Its course in most cases is short.
Flu, on the other hand, although it may be caused by a viral infection too, it manifests itself in a more violent way and its symptoms last for a longer period. What are the differences between flu and cold?
The symptoms of flu and the common cold are very similar in the first days, and we are often led to confusing the two different conditions. The main differences between flu and cold concern the duration of symptoms and their intensity. In addition, the common cold is usually restricted to the respiratory tract, while the flu almost always involves also other systems, such as muscular-skeletal and digestive.
A very common belief is that according to which the common cold, if not appropriately treated, can inexorably lead to a flu. However the two conditions are different: if the symptoms of airway congestion evolve, then it will necessarily be a flu. The cold is always limited to the involvement of the airways for a short period of time, about 4-7 days at most.
The virus responsible for the common cold is called Rhinovirus. This settles in the nasal mucosa, inflaming them. At that point, the inflammation is defined rhinitis. There are hundreds of viruses that can trigger a cold, however cold symptoms usually hatch for a couple of days, after which they occur:
• Nasal congestion
• Closed nose
• Sore throat
• Frequent sneezing
• A runny nose
• Burning throat
Cold symptoms occur very often during seasonal changes, mainly in winter and spring. The cold, however, can strike at any time, since it is a viral infection. Cold symptoms usually disappear in 4-7 days, except for illnesses such as sinusitis, a severe inflammation of the nasal airways.
The symptoms of flu occur very often in very similar way to those of the common cold. However, there is a substantial difference from the beginning: the symptoms of colds occur about 2 days after infection, while the flu symptoms can be noticed after a few hours already. The flu symptoms are more intense and the most common are:
• General malaise
• Articolar pains
• Muscular pains
• Bone pains
• Airway congestion
• Lack of appetite
The cold and flu are not medical conditions that are dangerous for health, but can become so. If not properly treated, are both capable of unleashing far more serious problems, like pneumonia. When these viral events affect weak subjects, like children, the elderly and the sick, can pose a serious risk to their health.
The most common viruses of cold besides the Rhinovirus are the Coronavirus are the Adenovirus, which often affect the youngest ones. Sneezing is not the most common vehicle of contagion, but rather the hands. The flu is caused by different viruses, called Orthomyxovirus. Usually these viruses affect more in winter, due to some mutations that make them particularly aggressive and cause seasonal pandemics.
There are many beliefs about the cold and flu, and one of them is that the cold and the damp are the main causes of the contagion. But things are different: dry climates favour viruses, because they weaken our mucous membranes. Here are the main causes of infection:
• Temperature fluctuations between external and internal environment. Heating in winter and air conditioning in summer play a crucial role.
• Ideal temperatures for viruses: below 34 degrees viruses find the most suitable environment and settle in human mucosa.
• Bad nutrition. In winter we tend to eat less fruit and vegetables, taking less vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and increasing the consumption of fats.
The best thing to do in case of flu and cold is prevention. Here are the best tips:
• Always wash your hands well and do not bring them to your mouth or nose
• Quit smoking
• Humidify the environments
• Avoid crowded places
• Hydrate yourself properly
• Eat food high in vitamins and minerals to strengthen the immune system
Turmeric and Black Pepper: the orange spice is fabulous against the symptoms of flu and the common cold. Curcumin, an antiviral and anti-inflammatory active ingredient, is activated only if dissolved in fats (it needs only a teaspoon of coconut oil) and when combined with piperine, contained in black pepper.
Camu Camu and Baobab: they are exceptional sources of vitamin C, much more than oranges. The acidulous taste of Camu confirms it! It is a natural vitamin supplement that strengthens defences and fights colds. The Baobab, in addition to containing vitamin C, is reconstituting and allows to recover quickly from the flu.
Lucuma: source of minerals, including zinc, which shortens the time of the flu and strengthens the immune system.
Reishi Mushrooms: considered miraculous and used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, are rich in vitamin C and can be added to hot broths, good to cure flu and colds.