Many people tired of the long, hot summer are welcoming cooler autumn temperatures outside. However, with the annual change in the weather also comes the unwelcomed head cold and influenza season.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu? The short answer is that it’s often hard to tell. Sometimes, it takes a lab test, performed in the first few days after symptoms appear, to find out for sure.
We do know that both colds and flu are respiratory diseases – but they are caused by different viruses. The symptoms can be much the same but, in general, colds are not as bad (intense) as getting the flu. We get colds more often than flu which is why we call them common colds.
Cold sufferers are likely to have a either a wet, dripping nose or one that is stuffed up. There are seldom any other health complications and recovery happens naturally after drinking plenty of fluids with bed rest. (Of course, some people work their way through a cold and inevitably expose their officemates to the illness, spreading it.)
Virus-borne influenza tends to come on suddenly with some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever / chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more children than adults)
Unlike the common cold, a flu attack can lead to very serious health complications. Sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, inflamed heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues and multi-organ failure (e.g., experiencing both respiratory and kidney failure at the same time) are all moderate to severe complications of the flu, depending on its variety or strain.
Some colds are caused by a virus, but others come from a bacterial infection. Dr. Soma Mandal is a medical doctor with tips on when to take antibiotics for a cold and when to wait it out.
First, Mandal explained the difference between bacteria and viruses:
“Bacteria are one-celled organisms that multiply and are linked to ear, throat, and sinus infections, as well as bronchitis, pneumonia, and whooping cough. Viruses are little parasites that reproduce rapidly and cause the common cold, the flu, and certain types of pneumonia. Most respiratory illnesses are not serious — the culprit is usually a virus, not a bacterium.”
You may well have a bacterial cold – treatable with a prescribed course of antibiotics – if a secondary fever develops in the first few days of illness. See a doctor if that happens or if your symptoms last more than 10 days, your experience recurring fevers, shortness of breath, and excessive yellow or green mucus.
You may find the next statement as unpleasant as it is shocking:
THERE IS NO TREATMENT FOR A VIRUS-BASED COLD OR FLU.
Seriously. With a viral infection, all you can do, other than make yourself comfortable, is to endure the darned thing – for a week to 10 days, usually.
Let’s talk about prevention. Most people have heard of flu shots but have you ever heard of a cold shot? Odds are you haven’t…because there isn’t one.
There is no cold shot because there are too many source bacteria and viruses to target effectively with a single injection.
Associate scientist Yury A. Bochkov at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health explained “there are usually 20-30 different types of rhinovirus circulating each season in one geographic area” and “only about 10 percent of those will show up again the next year.” Consequently, public health officials “cannot predict the spectrum of rhinovirus types for an upcoming cold season.”
Okay, fine. No cold shot. Should you get a flu shot?
Flu outbreaks are generally the result of only about three different viral strains. Flu shots are designed to immunize the body against one or more of those specific illnesses.
One big problem with flu shots is that they don’t work very well but drive big profits to Big Pharma. The vaccine market today is worth almost $24 BILLION and is estimated to grow to $61 BILLION by 2020.
Does successful flu prevention justify the cost? Perhaps not so much:
“The most commonly used flu shots protect no more than 60% of people who receive them; some years, effectiveness plunges to as low as 10%,” according to Science magazine. Did you know that a bad flu season can kill 50,000 people right here in the United States?
Another huge problem with vaccines is the unknown and potentially harmful additives that Big Pharma doesn’t like to talk about.
As I wrote in an article titled “Vaccines: A Shot in the Dark,” vaccinations contain a long list of unhealthy ingredients, including “formaldehyde, thiomersal (a derivative of mercury), aluminum phosphate, phenol (carbolic acid), alum, and acetone (nail polish remover).”
Many people don’t like the fact that a vaccine shot also injects foreign proteins (chick embryo, calf serum, rabbit brain tissue, and monkey kidney cells) that can set off an allergic reaction or cause inflammation. Anaphylactic shock has been seen in susceptible infants.
In a 2015 interview for the Opie & Jim Norton radio show on Sirius XM, President Donald Trump was asked if he gets the flu shot every year? Here is Trump’s answer, word for word:
“No…I’ve never had one. And thus far, I’ve never had the flu. I don’t like the idea of injecting bad stuff into your body, which is basically what they do. And I guess this one [the latest flu vaccine] has not been very effective, to start off with…But I’ve never had a flu shot and I’ve never had the flu…I have friends that religiously get the flu shot and then they get the flu. You know, that helps my thinking…I’ve seen a lot of reports that the last flu shot is virtually totally ineffective.”
So there you have it. The President of the United States (POTUS) thinks flu shots contain “bad stuff” and has never gotten one. He says he has never gotten the flu but knows people who have gotten it even though they had a flu shot.
Regardless of your political opinion about President Trump, he is not stupid and he has the best advisors money and his high office can provide. If he says he has never had a flu shot because they don’t work and they inject “bad stuff” along with the helpful agents, my money is on POTUS.