What causes the Common Cold?
The common cold is a viral infection that can be caused by more than 200 virus strains. However, rhinoviruses are the most common culprits of illness. When a cold virus enters your body, the immune system attacks the virus and that response causes symptoms like a cough or stuffy nose. Colds are spread through the air when infected people sneeze or cough, or when a person comes into contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus, followed by transfer to the mouth or nose.
Contrary to popular belief, cold air has nothing to do with catching a cold. Researchers have not found a connection between being cold and getting sick.
How Can I Prevent Colds?
One of the best protections from acquiring a cold virus is to wash your hands frequently. Around 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch. These germs can be lying in wait on household objects such as doorknobs, toothbrushes, telephones and faucet handles. Using warm water and soap followed by thorough rinsing and drying can get rid of most potentially harmful germs.
What’s the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?
The common cold tends to slowly worsen over two to three days, while the flu comes on suddenly and rapidly worsens over the first one to two days. Sore throat, nasal symptoms, cough and congestion are classic symptoms of a cold. Fever is more common in flu, especially if it is high. Body aches and fatigue also tend to be more common with the flu. However, initially it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu. Sugar Land Physicians offers an instant flu test to help differentiate and treat your illness appropriately.
In the U.S., approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from complications of the flu every year. The best defense against the flu is to be vaccinated. Sugar Land Physicians offers flu vaccines to help protect you and your family. It’s important to understand that you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Learn more about flu vaccinations here.
Diagnosis & Symptoms
Cold symptoms often start with a sore throat, which usually improves after several days. By the fourth or fifth day, nasal symptoms like a runny nose, a cough and congestion appear. Adults don’t usually get a fever, although a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.
Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for the common cold. At Sugar Land Physicians, we can help determine whether you have a common cold or the flu, provide the appropriate treatment or medications, and put you on the path to better health!