What Causes a Cold or the Flu?
Learn the best ways to beat these two winter woes.
Distinguishing Between Colds and Flu
What Exactly Is a Cold?Every one of the 1 billion annual cases of the common cold in the United States begins when a tiny dose of a virus is inhaled into the nasal passages from droplets sneezed or coughed into the air or transmitted by contaminated fingers. The virus then moves to the back of the nose, where it attaches itself to the adenoid area and begins to reproduce. Within 10 to 12 hours, the body attempts to defend itself by releasing mucous-gland secretions and by sneezing and coughing―the cold symptoms you begin to feel. Typically, symptoms worsen over the first 48 hours, then start to diminish. Most colds last about one week, though a severe case may linger a bit longer.
What Exactly Is the Flu?If a cold is like being sideswiped by a bike messenger, the flu is like being run over by a truck. Caused by the influenza virus, it comes on more suddenly than a cold, and the symptoms, which usually last four to five days, are generally worse. Your fever can be moderate to high―usually 101 to 103 degrees. Body aches and fatigue may be more intense, and your cough will be dry and hacking rather than wet. You’re more likely to have a headache and chills and less likely to get a sore throat or a runny nose. Because the flu invades the bronchial tubes and the lungs, it’s more serious than a cold.
How You Catch ThemIt’s more accurate to say that the flu or a cold virus catches you. Both are spread in the same two ways. An infected person coughs or sneezes, shooting virus particles into the air, which you breathe in. Or you touch an object―a doorknob, someone’s telephone―contaminated with the virus and then carry it to your nose or tear ducts with your fingers.
Next: How to Manage a Cold
Most Popular Galleries
“Sure, you may read all about eating healthy on the go, but when you’re out and about—and hungry—it’s easy to forget which items are actually the best choices for you. Fortunately, the (free!) Google...”
A thing of beauty should be a joy forever—or at least until five o’clock. Here’s how to stretch the life of your makeup, hair, manicure, perfume—and more.
Even if you didn’t go to Coachella this year, you can still don a flower h...
from The Nest Blog » house & home
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Tanzeum in...
Mirror, mirror on the wall, here are the best styling tricks of them all! We fou...
from POPSUGAR Home
Some foods are so simple, so easy, that they don't even seem worth talking ...
from Tastepartner on The Huffington Post
from HuffPost Home - The Huffington Post
Solar-powered homes were a rarity as recently as a decade ago. But a plethora o...