Is it a Cold or the Flu?

(CARLSBAD, CA) – It’s that time of year again. Sniffles, coughs, runny noses, and sore throats. Almost every child and adult in the United States will suffer a common cold this winter season, and many will endure a case of the flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people in the United States suffer one billion colds per year, with children bearing the highest incidence. Seasonal colds are the most common upper respiratory tract infection. More than 200 different viruses can be responsible for your cold, although half of all colds come from the ubiquitous rhinovirus.

So, how do you know if you have a cold? A cold almost always starts with throat irritation and a stuffy nose. As the cold progresses, typical symptoms include: runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache, and a slight fever.

An average cold lasts from two to 14 days. Nasal discharge and coughing may last longer. If you notice a persistent high fever, swollen glands, or severe sinus pain, then visit your doctor. The common cold can occasionally lead to bacterial infections of the ear or sinuses. These conditions require antibiotics.

Meanwhile, five to 20 percent of the population contracts the flu annually. Generally speaking, flu symptoms are much more severe than those of the common cold. Symptoms of influenza include muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and a high fever. A cough may be present, but this hacking cough is markedly different from the cough of the common cold.

When symptoms of illness arise this cold and flu season, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends running through the following checklists:

Common Cold Checklist:

  • Do you have a stuffy nose?
  • Are your aches and pains mild?
  • Is your fatigue mild?
  • Do you have a sore throat?
  • Are you sneezing frequently?

Influenza Checklist:

  • Do you have a high fever (above 102 degrees)?
  • Do you have a constant headache?
  • Are you experiencing severe fatigue and exhaustion?
  • Do you have severe body aches and pains?
  • Is your chest discomfort severe, and accompanied by a hacking cough?

Knowing the difference between the common cold and the flu is important to your health. That’s because common colds only lead to other medical complications in one percent of the cases, but influenza can easily lead to more serious conditions, such as pneumonia. While the common cold usually needs to run its course, a case of influenza may call for further medical treatment.

Whether you have a case of the sniffles or full-blown influenza, many homecare tactics are the same. Drink plenty of fluids. Get lots of rest. Eat foods rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, such as oranges, kiwi, spinach, and broccoli.

Better yet, take proactive steps to avoid colds and flu altogether. Frequent hand washing is the number one defense against colds and flu, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. Other prevention tactics include getting plenty of sleep, managing stress, eating healthy foods, and incorporating physical fitness into your daily lifestyle.

Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.

Posted: 10/25/2007 10:11:42 AM by Jazzercise | with 0 comments

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