We all know too well that colds and flu make our lives miserable, and that we’d do virtually anything we could to avoid catching them.
But there are a few things that you might not know about colds and flu – including how to properly treat them! Here are a few important things you should know about flu and colds that may come in handy this winter, especially if you’re trying to stay well. Once you’re clued up, you can also try your hand at our cold or flu quiz below, to see how much you’ve learned!
You may not get ‘the sniffles’ when you have flu
While colds and flu do share many similar symptoms, you’re more likely to have congestion, runny nose, sneezes or sore throat when you have a cold. These symptoms can occur when you have flu but they are more frequently a sign of a cold. To read more about cold and flu symptoms and determine whether you have a cold or flu, take a look at our article ‘How Do I Know if I Have a Cold?’ now.
Colds last a few days; flu may make you feel unwell for weeks
You’ll usually see the back of your cold symptoms after 3-5 days, but if you have flu, you could be experiencing symptoms for weeks. The more severe symptoms will pass after a week or so, but if your flu was particularly bad, you may feel fatigued or even exhausted for a few weeks afterwards.
Antibiotics don’t work on colds and flu!
If you have a cold or flu, don’t darken your GP’s door! Antibiotics do not have any impact on colds or flu as they are caused by viruses, and antibiotics are designed to work on bacterial infections. You can treat most flu and cold symptoms with over the counter medications including simple paracetamol and ibuprofen; take a look at our range of flu and cold remedies online now so you can stock up should a cold and flu strike.
Cold weather doesn’t cause a cold
The reason why colds have their name is because it used to be believed that being exposed to the cold weather for a prolonged period made you more likely to catch a cold. This isn’t true as colds are caused by the rhinovirus, which are passed on by touching an infected surface - so you can catch a cold no matter how wrapped up warm you are!
Pneumonia is a common side effect of flu
Flu is the most common cause of the lung infection pneumonia in adults, as the flu compromises your immune system and makes you more prone to catching pneumonia. The symptoms of pneumonia can make you feel very ill but unless you are in an at-risk group, such as the elderly or babies, it is not likely to be dangerous to you, and should pass in a few weeks. As pneumonia is a bacterial infection and not a virus, like colds and flu, you may be prescribed antibiotics as a pneumonia treatment.
You can greatly reduce your risks of catching cold and flu simply by washing your hands
According to research carried out by Kimberly-Clark, 80% of the risk of catching cold and flu can be eliminated simply by washing your hands. That’s because cold and flu viruses enter your body through the membranes of your eyes, nose and mouth, so if you touch an infected surface and then any of these areas of your body, you’re increasing your risks of catching the virus.
And if you’d really like to test your knowledge about colds and flu, why not take our cold or flu quiz below? You may even learn something new. After all, knowing the difference between cold and flu, and how to treat them, is nothing to be sneezed at!