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Almost everyone knows the feeling of dread when they begin to experience the first symptoms of a cold or the flu. Body aches, sore throat, chills, and other symptoms are usually an indication that things are about to get a lot worse before they get better. Many people confuse the common cold with the flu as early symptoms can often be quite similar. Since these illnesses can be very different in duration and severity, it is a good idea to know the difference between the two and to learn ways to lessen the chance of getting sick in the first place.

How Does One Get A Cold Or The Flu?

Both the flu and the common cold are caused by viruses. These viruses can be transmitted in a wide variety of ways including person to person contact, touching something that has viral droplets on it or just being where there are respiratory droplets in the air. In other words, these viruses can be hiding just about anywhere. Whether you’re at the store, riding in an elevator, flying in an airplane or just greeting friends and family, chances are that you will encounter one of these viruses.

What Is The Difference Between The Common Cold And The Flu?

Because these two illnesses often begin with similar symptoms, people sometimes confuse them. The common cold usually lasts for about a week and can cause a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and is occasionally accompanied by a fever. Severe body aches, sore throat, cough, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms that would indicate an infection by the flu virus.

The duration and severity of the illnesses are also quite different. A cold usually lasts for about a week, but flu symptoms can linger for up to a month or more. While having a cold can lead to sinus infections that require antibiotics, the flu can cause pneumonia and other types of respiratory distress that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Is There Any Way To Avoid Getting Sick?

Even though these viruses are found just about everywhere, this is not a reason to avoid public places. Granted, it’s easy to become a bit paranoid during cold and flu season, but there are ways to lessen your chances of getting sick. Most of these preventative measures are purely common sense and are easy to do. One of the best ways to keep yourself safe during cold and flu season is to wash your hands often. Another preventative measure is to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth which are prime entry points for germs. Other tips include getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting a flu shot, and using hand sanitizer. Products such as Sambucol Cold And Flu Immune Defense can also help by boosting your immune system.

What Happens If You Catch A Cold Or The Flu?

Even if you follow all of the above mentioned preventative measures, you can still get sick. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that will bring instant relief from the distressing symptoms of these illnesses. Getting plenty of rest, drinking water and warm fluids, taking over-the-counter medicines, and hot showers are all ways to help relieve symptoms.

Sooner or later, everyone catches the flu or common cold. With some common sense measures, you can lessen your chances of getting sick.