You sense it as soon as you wake up. Your throat feels scratchy. Your head is stuffy. Your nose is dripping.
Ugh, I have a cold, you think to yourself. Or is it the flu?!
If you're not sure whether your symptoms signify a cold or the flu, you're not the only one. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the two illnesses.
Both the flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses, as the CDC explains. In general, the flu is more intense than the common cold. The flu can also result in serious complications, such as pneumonia, in young, elderly, or people with existing health problems.
Common Cold Symptoms
The first sign is usually a sore throat, followed by a runny nose, and congestion, then a cough comes along by day four or five.
Colds typically last for about a week. Note that during first three days, you are contagious — so stay home if possible to avoid giving it to others.
While colds aren't much fun, the flu can be positively awful. Symptoms may include a sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. You might feel under the weather for more than a week, though most symptoms should improve after four or five days.
Still not sure if it's a cold or the flu? Take your temperature. If your temperature is above 101 degrees, it's probably the flu, as colds aren't usually associated with fever. Consulting this chart, created by the CDC, can also help.
In either case, make sure to see your doctor if:
- Your cold symptoms don't start to improve after about a week (it could be a bacterial infection, which needs to be treated with antibiotics.)
- You experience shortness of breath (which could signify pneumonia)
- A fever lasts for more than three days
- A fever comes back after having been gone for a day or two
- It's painful to swallow (could signify strep)
- A cough doesn't go away after two or three weeks (it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic)
- Headaches and congestion don't subside (congestion and blockage of sinus passages can lead to a sinus infection)
How to Prevent a Cold or Flu
Your main plan of protection: Wash your hands! Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes (i.e. nose, eyes, or mouth). Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, there's potential for infection, which is why it's so crucial to keep your hands germ-free — and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
A few other lifestyle strategies that can help you stay well include eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and managing sources of stress in your life.
Finally, research suggests that certain supplements — all of which are included in Binto supplements — can help ward off colds and flu:
- Zinc has been shown to help keep your immune system healthy. It can also play a role after the onset of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential vitamin that benefits many functions in the body, including bone health, mood, and immunity. Studies have found that supplementing with vitamin D can help prevent upper respiratory infections.
- Vitamin C helps your immune system and supports our natural protection against pathogens. Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the duration of colds when you’ve been supplementing regularly. (Contrary to popular opinion, however, it can't help when you're already sick!)
- Finally, probiotics, a key ingredient in Binto's supplements, may have the potential to prevent upper respiratory infections.