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Is it a cold or is it flu?

It’s important to know the difference between a cold and the flu, as it determines treatment.

18 June 2014
by Candice Verwey

Book your flu vaccine now

It’s common for people to confuse the two, due to similar symptoms. To determine whether you’re in the grip of a cold or flu virus, ask yourself these three questions:

1. How long did it take to come on?

Flu symptoms come on quickly. Within a matter of hours you are likely to be man-down. A cold tends to develop more gradually over a matter of several days.

2. How serious are my symptoms?

A cold might leave you feeling a little worse for wear, but it probably won’t disrupt your daily life too much. Symptoms include a sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing. Symptoms such as headaches and light body aches are less common.

The flu is more serious, with symptoms such as a fever, headache, fatigue, weakness, coughing and body aches. You may also experience a stuffy nose, sore throat and sneezing, though these symptoms are less common to the flu. A hallmark of the flu is extreme exhaustion, particularly in the early days of infection. Bed rest is necessary for recovery.

3. How long has it gone on for?

The flu symptoms typically last for three to five days, while a cold usually runs its course in seven to 10 days.

How to fight back

Feeling the first signs of illness? Antibiotics won’t work to treat a cold or flu virus, but many of the symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter remedies.

Clicks Good Practice Manager Eugene Owen recommends getting plenty of rest and drinking enough fluids at the first signs of flu. "Zinc, vitamin C and Echinacea are popular natural treatment options for colds and flu, while a range of antihistamines, decongestants and painkillers like Disprin, which helps relieve the pain and fever of colds and flu, are available without prescription at Clicks stores. Stock up on these so that you’re prepared to treat symptoms as soon as they occur," he recommends.  

Top prevention tip

Simply washing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of germs and bacteria.

How Clicks Clinics can help you during the flu season

Book an appointment for a flu vaccination at a Clicks Clinic by calling 0860 254 257 or visiting Clicks Clinics online. The good news is that most medical aids now cover the flu vaccination and sometimes even reward members. 

Take note that the following people cannot get vaccinated:

  • Babies younger than 6 months
  • Anyone allergic to eggs
  • Anyone who already has a fever
  • Anyone who has shown a past reaction to a vaccine

Shop now at Clicks.co.za for cold and flu remedies

To help you ward off colds and the flu, or recover from them, Clicks pharmacists have selected the most trustworthy and affordable products for you to purchase online. These include a wide range of vitamins and supplements and cough, cold and flu remedies.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com


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