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The Cold or the Flu: Which is It?

By Donna Stark

Well, you woke up this morning and found yourself hunched over in the fetal position. Your brain hurts, your body hurts, you feel like you've been hit by a train, and you are sooo tired. It could be one of two things that is making you feel this way, and you can rule out the first thing because you know it's not a Monday morning. So it's got to be the only other option, and from past experience, you know that you're going to end up wishing it really was just the start of a new week. No, by now reality is setting in and it doesn't look good. And you know what else is setting in? Those body aches and the realization that the cold and flu season has invaded your home.

Cold and Flu  Which is It?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, especially if a cold is on the more serious side and leaves you feeling like death warmed over. So let's review the characteristics of the two because right now you feel like junk and you need to take some action.

  • Cold - There are times when having a cold isn't that bad, and other times that leave you feeling like you need to be hospitalized. Symptoms from this viral infection include a sore throat, coughing, sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, and head and sinus pressure. Antibiotics won't help so you need to turn to other measures for comfort and you should expect to feel this way for up to a week.
  • Flu -The flu is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Symptoms of the flu can mimic those of a severe cold, but can also include weakness, significant muscle aches, and splitting headaches. The thoughts of getting out of bed may actually leave you in a puddle of your own tears. For some, the week they have the flu is easily the worst they have felt all year, but for others, it can take an even more dangerous turn. So everyone needs to be careful, especially if the risks are high for complications or serious illnesses.

Getting Through the Pain

Here are some tips that will help you get through the difficult week that lies ahead.

  • Stay home - Keep the germs to yourself and avoid those around you as best as you can! Cough and sneeze into a tissue, wash your hands repeatedly, and rest!
  • Consume the right stuff - You may not feel up to eating, but your body needs some nutrition. So help yourself to some chicken soup, Vitamin C, honey, and probiotics.
  • Pull out your supplies - Consider using a vapor rub, a cool-mist humidifier, Epsom salts, and a salt-water gargle rinse to minimize many of the symptoms.

Getting sick is the worst and if your home treatments aren't helping, or if you are at an increased risk for more serious complications, be sure to see your doctor right away! Until then, climb into your softest pajamas and grab your remote. It's going to be a long couple of days.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in The Woodlands, Tex.

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