Coughs and Colds

How You Can Prevent Coughs and Colds

A woman uses tissues to dry her noseIt is that time of year, again. Whenever the seasons change, the incidents of coughs and colds increase and it begins to spread like wildfire. To prevent the spread of any contagious disease is fairly easy to do, but you might be surprised just how many people do not know exactly how to. We will show you how, as well as defining the difference between the common cold and flu symptoms.

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Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Cold symptoms are classic: a sore throat, which lasts only a day or two, followed by congestion and a runny nose, followed by coughing after about four days or so. When you were a child, this was also followed by a fever, but adults rarely get a fever, with a cold. All of the symptoms will start to clear up after a week.

The flu, on the other hand, shares a lot of the same symptoms as a cold, but there are definite differences. It can include headache, fever, sore throat, congestion, coughing and muscle aches and stiffness. Some strains, like the swine flu, can also present vomiting and diarrhea. While most flu symptoms will begin to away after two to five days, it is not unusual to still feel awful after for more than a week.

How to not Share with the Rest of the World

The number one preventative measure that anyone can take, whether you are dealing with the common cold or the flu, is to simply wash your hands very well. Using warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds will kill and remove the germs from your skin. Next, if at all possible, get a flu shot. With the advent of H1N1 and swine flu, vaccinations are more important than ever before, and even if you do not want it for yourself, then do it for someone you care about.

The common cold is only contagious the first three days, but the flu can remain contagious for longer than that, especially the last several strains that have made an appearance. If you feel the need to go out, be sure to cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. Dispose of any tissues safely and securely, and do not allow your children or other family members to handle them. And, above all, if you do not have to leave the house while you are sick, then do not. Stay in bed, drink plenty of liquids, you will feel better faster, and you will keep those coughs and colds contained as they should be.