COLD & FLU BASICS

COLD & FLU BASICS

Symptoms

COLD AND FLU SYMPTOMS EXPLAINED

Each symptom has a specific cause and can point to a cold or the flu, sometimes both.

Nasal Congestion

Nasal Congestion

You usually become congested as a result of an infection like a cold. Generally, it’s just a nuisance, though for infants it can sometimes become a problem that affects their breathing or ability to breastfeed.1

Nasal Congestion Treatment

Decongestants can temporarily relieve Nasal congestion caused by a cold. Saline nasal sprays and humidifiers can also help open up breathing passages.1

Sinus Congestion

Sinus Congestion

Your sinuses are made up of 4 sets of hollow, air-filled pockets that are thinly lined with mucus membranes, keeping the inside of the nose moist. When you have a cold or allergies, these membranes can get irritated and begin to produce too much mucus.2

Sinus Congestion Treatment

Similar to when dealing with nasal congestion, some decongestants can temporarily relieve sinus congestion. Saline nasal sprays and humidifiers may also help open up your breathing passages.2

Fever

Fever

A fever, or temporary increase in your body temperature above 98.6°F, is your immune system's way of fighting off a number of infections. When it comes to adults, a fever is usually not an immediate concern unless it reaches 103° F or higher. However, a slightly elevated temperature in infants and toddlers may indicate a serious infection.3

Fever Treatment

While fevers generally tend to go away within a few days, pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to help bring your temperature back to normal.3

Headache

Headache

Headaches fall into 2 camps: primary and secondary. Primary headaches occur due to chemical changes in your brain and result in the throbbing of the nerves or blood vessels of your head, or inflammation of the muscles of your head and neck. A secondary headache usually happens because there’s something else attacking your system, such as a flu virus. 6

Headache Treatment

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain when you have a headache associated with the flu.6

Cough

Cough

A cough is simply your body’s way of trying to get rid of the irritation in your throat and your airways. However, if your cough persists for weeks and brings up discolored or bloody mucus, you should probably see a doctor. Chances are, there’s an underlying condition that requires medical attention.5

Cough Treatment

If you’ve got a cough, antitussive medications such as dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine can certainly help with relief.5

Sore Throat

Sore Throat

If you feel pain, scratchiness or irritation in your throat, you’ve caught a viral infection and have a sore throat.4

Sore Throat Treatment

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain.4

Body Ache

Body Aches

Soreness throughout your entire body generally means there is something else going on inside your system like a disease or infection, like the flu. But if the soreness is isolated in one area, it’s probably not related to cold or flu, but more likely stress or overexertion from exercising.7

Body Ache Treatment

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can help relieve body aches and pains when you come down with the flu.7

Runny Nose

Runny Nose

When you’re sick, a runny nose starts because bacteria, allergens or a virus like a cold or the flu attacks and irritates your nose’s lining. This triggers an inflammatory reaction which causes your mucus production to go into overdrive.8

Runny Nose Treatment

For a runny nose associated with the common cold, antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine can help provide you with relief.8

Sneezing

Sneezing

Sneezing is our reaction to something that’s irritating the inside of our nose.9

Sneezing Treatment

If you need fast relief, antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine will help.9

  • Nasal Congestion

    You usually become congested as a result of an infection like a cold or sinusitis. Generally, it’s just a nuisance, though for infants it can sometimes become a problem that affects their breathing or ability to breastfeed.1

    Nasal Congestion Treatment

    Decongestants can temporarily relieve Nasal congestion caused by a cold. Saline nasal sprays and humidifiers can also help open up breathing passages.1

  • Sinus Congestion

    Your sinuses are made up of 4 sets of hollow, air-filled pockets that are thinly lined with mucus membranes, keeping the inside of the nose moist. When you have a cold or allergies, these membranes can get irritated and begin to produce too much mucus.2

    Sinus Congestion Treatment

    Similar to when dealing with nasal congestion, some decongestants can temporarily relieve sinus congestion. Saline nasal sprays and humidifiers may also help open up your breathing passages.2

  • Fever

    A fever, or temporary increase in your body temperature above 98.6°F, is your immune system's way of fighting off a number of infections. When it comes to adults, a fever is usually not an immediate concern unless it reaches 103° F or higher. However, a slightly elevated temperature in infants and toddlers may indicate a serious infection.3

    Fever Treatment

    While fevers generally tend to go away within a few days, pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to help bring your temperature back to normal.3

  • Headache

    Headaches fall into 2 camps: primary and secondary. Primary headaches occur every day due to chemical changes in your brain and result in the throbbing of the nerves or blood vessels of your head, or inflammation of the muscles of your head and neck. A secondary headache usually happens because there’s something else attacking your system, such as a flu virus. 6

    Headache Treatment

    Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain when you have a headaches associated with the flu.6

  • Cough

    A cough is simply your body’s way of trying to rid the irritation in your throat and your airways. However, if your cough persists for weeks and brings up discolored or bloody mucus, you should probably see a doctor. Chances are, there’s an underlying condition that requires medical attention.5

    Cough Treatment

    If you’ve got a cough, antitussive medications such as dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine can certainly help with relief.5

  • Sore Throat

    If you feel pain, scratchiness or irritation in your throat, you’ve caught a viral infection and have a sore throat.4

    Sore Throat Treatment

    Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain.4

  • Body Aches

    Soreness throughout your entire body generally means there is something else going on inside your system like a disease or infection, like the flu. But if the soreness is isolated in one area, it’s probably not related to cold or flu, but more likely stress or over exertion from exercising.7

    Body Ache Treatment

    Pain relievers such as acetaminophen can help relieve body aches and pains when you come down with the flu.7

  • Runny Nose

    When you’re sick, a runny nose starts because bacteria, allergens or a virus like a cold or the flu attacks and irritates your nose’s lining. This triggers an inflammatory reaction which causes your mucus production to go into overdrive.8

    Runny Nose Treatment

    For a runny nose associated with the common cold, antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine can help provide you with relief.8

  • Sneezing

    Sneezing is our reaction to something that’s irritating the inside of our nose.9

    Sneezing Treatment

    If you need fast relief, antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine will help.9

Sources:

  1. “Nasal congestion.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nasal-congestion/basics/causes/sym-20050644
  2. “Dowshen, S. (2013). When Sinuses Attack! ” Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/sinuses.html
  3. “Fever.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/basics/definition/con-20019229
  4. “Sore throat.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/basics/symptoms/con-20027360
  5.  “Cough.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/cough/basics/causes/sym-20050846
  6. “Headache.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/definition/sym-20050800
  7. “Muscle pain.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/muscle-pain/basics/causes/sym-20050866
  8. “Runny nose.” (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/runny-nose/basics/definition/sym-20050640
  9. Sneezing: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003060.htm