Cold and Flu

The common cold and the flu are the two most frequent ailments that plague families around the world.

Both diseases are viral infections, both are annoying and exhausting, and both have limited options on how to treat them.

We have included a lot of information below, information from what causes a cold or the flu to old wives’ tales on how to treat or prevent them.

If you are suffering from either one of these ailments for longer than 5-7 days without any improvement or if your symptoms progress, make sure that you contact your doctor immediately.

Reliance Family Care and Locust Grove Family offer Flu shots every year.

Common Cold

Even in the 21st Century, there is no magic cure for colds. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, which is why generally there isn’t a lot the doctor can do when you have a simple cold. There are hundreds of cold viruses, that is why we can “catch a cold” frequently and why it is impossible to immunize against them.

As long as you take care of yourself and get plenty of rest before it goes into Bronchitis or Pneumonia a cold is usually merely annoying and generally harmless.

What causes a cold?

Colds are caused by various types of viruses which are spread from person to person when tiny mucus droplets in the air are passed by sneezing or coughing. Children tend to get colds more often than adults because they “forget” to cover their mouths, and don’t have the same hang-ups about sharing things when they have the sniffles that adults tend to.

Note: Children who live with someone who smokes are known to develop more colds and coughs than average. This is because the smoke interferes with the natural defense against viruses. SO STOP SMOKING NOW!

What are the symptoms of a cold?

(may have one or more of these symptoms)

  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Fever
  • Tired
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat

How do you prevent a cold?

  • Avoid people who have a cold
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Keep your body warm so that it has the strength to fight infection
  • Eat healthy
  • Do not smoke

What are some options for treatment?

Generally, there is really nothing you can do to treat a cold, you just have to wait it out. Get plenty of Vitamin C, eat healthily and get plenty of fluids and rest.

There are dozens of over the counter cold medicines. They do not treat the cold, but they can help relieve some of the annoying symptoms and give you a little bit of relief.

When should you seek medical advice?

  • A high temperature persists after 4 days
  • Your fluid intake has declined or stopped
  • You have difficulty breathing or breathing is painful
  • You have rapid breathing
  • You wheeze when breathing
  • You have chest pains or a persistent earache
  • You become drowsy

Old Wives Tales (Myths)

Were going to tackle a few of the common “myths” associated with the cold.

Bundle Up – 1/2 True!

“Put on a jacket or you’ll catch your death!” A favorite among moms around the world. Going out in cold weather without jackets or warm clothing only allows your mucous membranes to dry out, which allows you to become more prone to letting the cold virus in. It doesn’t guarantee you will get the cold at all! So bundling up and staying warm can help you fight the virus a little, but you can catch a cold with or without the jacket…

No Kissing On The Lips – False!

The human mouth generally stays disease free during colds, believe it or not! Rubbing noses, however, not recommended… Generally, if you are going to catch someone’s cold it will be from being in the same room and for sharing the same items and the same air for an extended amount of time. Even with all that, it depends on your bodies ability to fight off that particular virus.

Feed a Fever & Starve a Cold – False!

The best thing you can do for your body is drink, drink and drink some more… 100% Juices with vitamins and lots of water will be the best thing you can do for your body during a cold. Your body will tell you what you need when it comes to food. If it’s hungry and you feel like eating, do so! If you’re not hungry and don’t want to eat, then don’t!


Most people will have had the flu at some point. Although it can be a very unpleasant experience, but most people recover. It spreads easily, but the effects of it can be prevented or limited by following a few easy tips. Although technically there are 3 main “types” of the flu. Two of them are rare and uncommon and none are the same, the only thing they really have in common is that they are all viral infections.

Seasonal Influenza- This is the most common flu to hit the human race. It generally hits in late the autumn months. Specific information about the seasonal flu is listed below.

Pandemic Influenza – This is when a new strand of influenza appears on a global scale. It generally means few people have an immunity to it and can spread quickly throughout the world. This is VERY rare and the government is prepared if and when this happens. For more information on this strand click here.

Avian Influenza – Believe it or not, the “bird flu” is generally not able to be passed to humans. It is rare that a human has been infected. The media has used it to create panic on slow news days, but the threat is limited! Click here for more information.

What causes the flu?

Like the common cold, the flu is an upper respiratory viral infection. This, however, is where their similarities end. The flu is stronger, harder to combat and, unlike the cold, there is a treatment available.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

(may have one or more of these symptoms)

  • Fever
  • Sweats
  • Sore Throat
  • Sneezing
  • Dry Cough
  • Achy Muscles
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

How do you prevent the flu?

  • Stay away from people who have it! Unlike the cold, if you are around people with the flu, chances are you will get it!
  • Get a flu shot!
  • Wash your hands often, especially during flu season!

What are some options for treatment?

The flu shot is the best choice for prevention & treatment. The flu shot doesn’t guarantee that you will not get the flu, but it will lessen the chances, and should you get it, it will also lessen the severity. Because the flu is viral and each year there is a different strand of flu it is hard to do much else for it.

Drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest are also good!

When should you seek medical advice?

If you have major health problems, are over 65, younger than 3 or if symptoms fail to improve in 7 days, it is recommended that you seek advice from a doctor.

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