Flu or cold? What to do!



Caroline Lachapelle

The flu and cold season is upon us. It affects a maximum number of people between late fall and early spring, but can vary from year to year. Prevention is key! Here are a few tips that can be useful this flu season.

Do I have a cold or the flu?

Both are viral diseases but do not have the same symptoms. The common cold is more prevalent and often more common than the flu. In both cases, cough and fatigue symptoms may persist for more than two weeks.



Flu
Symptoms of the flu are sudden and include:

  • High fever
  • Intense muscle pain
  • Cough
  • Occasional abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Intense fatigue
  • Little or no nasal congestion, no nasal discharge.



 

Cold
Those with colds often see a more gradual onset of symptoms:

    • Nasal congestion
    • Runny nose
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • Fever is quite rare

 




How to manage your symptoms

In general, all cold and flu symptoms can be treated at home. Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of complications and make yourself more comfortable.



      • Get some rest
      • Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day as fever contributes to water loss. Water is also used to liquefy secretions for better evacuation
      • Use a saline solution to clean nasal secretions. Salt water helps to make secretions more fluid and using a sinusoidal, Neti Pot or NetiRinse pear also helps to remove them. This prevents secretions from entering the lungs, thus reducing the risk of infection.
      • If you have a sore throat, you can take lozenges, honey or gargle in salt water
      • Lower the temperature in the bedroom and make sure you have a humidity level of about 50%.
      • Raise the head of your bed with the pillows to sleep in a semi-seated position; this allows the secretions to be lowered towards the digestive tract, thus reducing cough.

 

Over-the-counter medications

You can take ibuprophen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to make yourself more comfortable and in case of fever, reduce it. Make sure you do not add two drugs containing the same molecule, for example, acetaminophen and a cold syrup that already contains the former, to avoid the risk of a toxic overdosing.

 

When to consult a doctor

      • If you have breathing difficulties
      • Blue lips
      • Chest pain
      • Severe or persistent headache
      • Dizziness, difficulty staying awake, weakness
      • Confusion, disorientation
      • Convulsion (muscle stiffness and involuntary contractions)
      • No urine for more than 12 hours and a dry mouth
      • High fever is (above 38.5°C) lasting for more than four days
      • Fever reappears within 4 to 14 days
      • Your sore throat lasts more than two days, your throat is very swollen, red and covered with pus


What about children?

Babies under 3 months of age with fever should be seen in an emergency quickly, as well as any children who would have a general state of decline: lethargic, unable to play.



Do not give syrup or cold medicine to children under 6 years of age.

 

If you are unsure of the symptoms or wonder if you should consult, Dialogue nurses are available to answer your questions and concerns. 

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