By Dave Mihalovic
There is no question that the cold virus is more stable in cold temperature, so it survives and lingers airborne much longer due to the dry, cold conditions. There is a difference between symptoms related to the cold virus and flu virus, but possibly the number one reason the human body is susceptible to the cold virus in the winter is its virulence.
Cold, low humidity air dries out the nasal passages and makes virus transmission more likely. Researchers have found that in winter, even the flu virus wears a coat, and it’s a coat that helps the virus spread through the air.
The symptoms we get during a viral illness are often the body’s attempt to get rid of the virus and to minimize damage. Sneezing ejects the virus from the nose, cough from the lungs and throat, vomiting from the stomach, and diarrhea from the intestines.
What most people don’t realize is that the flu is not very common at all. The symptoms of influenza infection can be hard to distinguish from those caused by other viruses that trigger the common cold. Chances are that if you’re 30 or over, it may be a cold. That’s the message from research showing that people aged 30 or more can expect just two bouts of flu per decade for the rest of their lives. Since the two illnesses share some similar symptoms, and both come during “cold and flu season,” the two often run together in people’s minds, but they are not the same.
With more than 200 viruses known to cause influenza-like illness (ILI), a person can get a flu shot and still become sick with what is described as “the flu”. According to CDC data, almost 90% of all influenza-type illnesses are NOT caused by the influenza virus, thus influenza viruses are ONLY active 14% of the time.
The symptoms we get during a viral illness are often the body’s attempt to get rid of the virus and to minimize damage. Sneezing ejects the virus from the nose, cough from the lungs and throat, vomiting from the stomach, and diarrhea from the intestines. Fever makes it difficult for the virus to reproduce. The topic of viral illnesses will always remain somewhat confusing, since the body has a relatively small number of symptoms with which to respond to an ever-changing, wide variety of viruses. While colds and flus may overlap, the differences between them are important.
The common cold is centered in the nose.
Over 200 different types of viruses can cause a cold. Rhinoviruses, which means “nose viruses”, are the most common cause. Respiratory syncitial viruses (RSV) and a host of others can produce colds. Of note, influenza viruses occasionally cause illnesses with symptoms of the common cold.
The three most frequent symptoms of a cold are nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and runny nose. Throat irritation is often involved (but not with a red throat). Adults and older children with colds generally have minimal or no fever. Infants and toddlers often run a fever in the 100 to 102 degree range.
Depending on which virus is the culprit, the virus might also produce a headache, cough, postnasal drip, burning eyes, muscle aches, or a decreased appetite, but in a cold, the most prominent symptoms are in the nose. (By the way, forcing a child to eat with a decreased appetite due to a cold is both unnecessary and unhelpful, but do encourage drinking plenty).
If anything, using the term “common” with cold is an understatement. Colds are the most prevalent infectious disease. Children average 3 to 8 colds per year (younger children and boys are on the higher end of the range). Colds occur mostly in the winter (even in areas with mild winters). In areas where there is no winter, colds are most common in the rainy season. Parents get about half as many colds as their children do. Moms tend to get at least one more cold per year than Dads.
When someone has a cold, the nasal secretions are teeming with cold viruses. Coughing, drooling, and talking are all unlikely ways to pass a cold. But sneezing, nose-blowing, and nose-wiping are the means by which the virus spreads. You can catch a cold by inhaling the virus if you are sitting close to a sneeze, or by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by infected nasal secretions.
Once you have “caught” a cold, the symptoms begin in 1 to 5 days. Usually irritation in the nose or a scratchy feeling in the throat is the first sign, followed within hours by sneezing and a watery nasal discharge.
Within one to three days, the nasal secretions usually become thicker and perhaps yellow or green — this is a normal part of the common cold and not a reason for antibiotics. During this period, children’s eardrums are usually congested, and there may well be fluid behind the ears — whether or not the child will end up with a true bacterial infection. Yes, antibiotics are too frequently prescribed for this as well.
The entire cold is usually over all by itself in about 7 days, with perhaps a few lingering symptoms (cough) for another week. If it lasts longer, consider another problem, such as a sinus infection or allergies.
While it lasts, the common cold is primarily a head cold. While you may feel tired or have aches, the illness is centered in the nose, and most of the symptoms are above the neck.
With the flu, you are sick all over.
The flu can be a much more serious illness. The most deadly recent worldwide outbreak was the flu epidemic at the beginning of this century and killed more than 20 million people. Even today, more than 36,000 people in the United States die from the flu each year — primarily those who are weak from advanced age or a major illness.
A single family of viruses — the influenza viruses — causes the flu. Most people get the flu once every year or two or three, and the illness is unpleasant but not usually dangerous. Unlike the common cold, both adults and children with the flu generally have a fever.
The flu can take many forms, but here we will describe the most typical:
Classically, the flu begins abruptly, with a fever in the 102 to 106 degree range (with adults on the lower end of the spectrum), a flushed face, body aches, and marked lack of energy. Some people have other systemic symptoms such as dizziness or vomiting. The fever usually lasts for a day or two, but can last five days.
Somewhere between day 2 and day 4 of the illness, the “whole body” symptoms begin to subside, and respiratory symptoms begin to increase. The virus can settle anywhere in the respiratory tract, producing symptoms of a cold, croup, sore throat, bronchiolitis, ear infection, and/or pneumonia.
The most prominent of the respiratory symptoms is usually a dry, hacking cough. Most people also develop a sore (red) throat and a headache. Nasal discharge and sneezing are not uncommon. These symptoms (except the cough) usually disappear within 4 to 7 days. Sometimes there is a second wave of fever at this time. The cough and tiredness usually lasts for weeks after the rest of the illness is over.
Inhaling droplets from coughs or sneezes is the most common way to catch the flu. Symptoms appear 1 to 7 days later (usually 2-3 days). The flu is airborne and quite contagious, and with its short incubation period it often slams into a community all at once, creating a noticeable cluster of school and work absences. The flu usually arrives in the winter months. Within 2 or 3 weeks of its arrival, most of the classroom has had it.
The other major difference between the common cold and the flu is that the flu is preventable. In any given year, two or three different strains of influenza virus cause most of the flu around the world.
9 Ways To Keep Your Immune System Strong Against The Cold Virus
1) USE NATURE’S FLU SHOT
8 Fresh Lemons
2 Fresh Oranges
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
2 Tbsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Ground Tumeric
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp. Raw Honey
1 bulb Garlic (can increase to 2 if tolerated)
Blend all ingredients and store in a glass jar. This recipe works exceptionally well if you start taking it just as you start to feel symptoms. At that point, take 1 cup 3 times per day until symptoms resolve.
2) LIVE IN A WARMER CLIMATE
Unfortunately, this is the number one and best preventive defense against the cold virus, but not much consolation to those living far from equator. Sorry Minnesota.
3) TAKE THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN
Vitamin D is shown to reduce the risk of flu to a third of what it would otherwise be. The correct daily dose of vitamin D3 for adults is approximately 5,000 IU/day, not the 200 to 600 IU recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA. You may even be shocked to know that there are many physicians in both Canada and the United States who prescribe as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D daily as a treatment for a long list of chronic diseases.
4) TAKE PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. High potency Probiotic supplements such Laktokhan contain the exact ratio needed of live microorganisms that contribute to a natural healthy gut flora, which benefits health. Laktokhan helps to manage acute infectious diarrhea, and it reduces the risk of, and helps manage, antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
5) STAY AWAY FROM SUCROSE
Its ability to impair and depress the immune system is unparalleled.
6) STAY AWAY FROM ALL VACCINES, ESPECIALLY THE FLU SHOT
Flu vaccines still contain mercury and only work to depress the immune system. Regardless of what statistics your government has released, the actual chances of a flu vaccine preventing the flu are less than 4 percent
7) USE VIRUS-FIGHTING HERBS
Some of the best immune stimulants are anti-viral herbs. Virus-fighting herbs include purple coneflower, pot marigold and black elder. Other important antiviral herbs include yarrow herb (Achillea millefolium), hyssop herb (Hyssopus officinalis), lemon balm herb (Melissa officinalis), St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) marjoram herb (Origanum majorana), oregano herb (Origanum vulgare), heal-all herb (Prunella vulgaris), rosemary herb (Rosmarinus officinalis) and blue vervain herb (Verbena hastata). It is important to begin taking the herbs as soon as you think you are getting sick. Take your formulation four to six times per day until you are better.
Probably nothing else you do will make a greater difference in your overall health than a detox. The liver is so important to our well-being that many healers maintain that most diseases cannot develop in the body with a clean liver, so a liver detox is essential at times. Supplementing for liver health is vital but there are plenty of foods that can also detox the entire body.
9) DEEP ACTING IMMUNE TONICS
Another group of herbs that help to improve and optimize immune function are the immune tonics. These herbs are deeper acting than immune stimulants, but take longer to work. They include North American ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius), lacquered polypore or reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum), Chinese milkvetch root (Astragalus membranaceus) and Siberian ginseng root (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Combine two or three immune tonics and take them three to four times per day for two to three months. Immune tonics are not suitable for treating infections in progress. They are used for preventive purposes or to optimize immune function and work best after first doing several cycles of immune stimulants.
There are also many other important antioxidant nutrients that support immune functioning. These include the carotenes, flavonoids and other polyphenols such as those found in green tea, grape seed, pine bark and various berry extracts. The best food sources of immune-enhancing nutrients are fresh fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms.
Also Read: The Top 12 Best Foods and Antioxidants While You Are Sick With A Cold or Flu
Dave Mihalovic writes for PreventDisease.com, where this article first appeared.