Know the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu
I wanted to share some information to help clear up confusion regarding the difference between colds and flu. While the flu is widespread in NJ, we are seeing lots of colds and coughs unrelated to the flu. Knowing the difference and the severity of your symptoms can help you determine if you should be seen and what you should do.
The flu is a virus that causes a fever, cough, body aches, and congestion—symptoms are severe and long lasting. Although the common cold is caused by a virus and has similar symptoms, the symptoms are less severe and typically last up to a week.
Here are a few tips to prevent and treat the cold and flu:
- Eat well – plenty of greens, and other fruits and veggies. Avoid processed foods and added sugar.
- Stay well hydrated- with water and herbal teas
- Get enough sleep
- Meditate or do relaxation techniques daily
- Stay positive, laugh often
- Exercise moderately 20-40 minutes most days of the week
- Wear a coat and cold weather gear
- Consider probiotics – especially bifidobacter
To help boost your immune support at first sight of symptoms:
- Vitamin C 500mg- 2-3 times per day
- Elderberry- take 1-2 ml of Elderberry concentrate 3-4 times per day for 4-5 days
- Zinc lozenge- every 2-3 hours while awake for 3 days
To help with symptoms when sick:
- Steam inhalation with Eucalyptus or peppermint and chamomile
- Use a nasal saline
- Drink hot tea—ginger, peppermint, or chamomile
- Use honey—take ½ -1 teaspoon as needed for cough
- Use peppermint rubs on the chest or back
- Eat bone broth – Beef bone broth and Yes! Chicken noodle soup does boost the immune system.
- Treat a fever to feel comfortable – high temperatures help your immune system. Try a wet sock technique. Put on a wet pair of socks and a dry pair over top. If needed, use the lowest effective dose of a fever reducer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
It’s important to note that antibiotics work to kill bacteria and not viruses, so unfortunately, they are not effective for colds or the flu. We need to rely on our own bodies to take care of the infection. This is why it is so important to treat them right with rest, fluids and the right nutrients.
The flu can become serious so please reach out immediately if you have shortness of breath, confusion, severe headache or can’t keep fluids down—we are always available on Spruce. If you do visit our office and think you may have the flu, please request a mask.