DO YOU THINK THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COMMON COLD AND INFLUENZA?

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DO YOU THINK THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COMMON COLD AND INFLUENZA?

difference between a common cold and influenza

I would regularly be requested by my neighbour to drive her and her toddler to the hospital almost every month during the cold season. He would miss playtime, school, and extracurricular classes and she would keep missing work due to this saga. By the seventh time, I realized that despite the doctor saying it was the flu, she would always dismiss it as a common cold until it got worse.

I recently attended a Facebook Live Interview with Dr Sadanand S. Shetye a neonatologist and paediatrician (Moralwar NICU and Child Care, Navi Mumbai) and Dr Mangesh Tiwaskar a consultant physician and diabetologist (Shilpa Medical Research Centre, Mumbai). That’s when I found that influenza is not the same as a common cold.

Do you think there is no difference between a common cold and influenza?

Influenza and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses but, are caused by different viruses. When one gets a common cold, their symptoms, like runny nose, sneezing and chest congestion are mostly harmless and subside within a couple of weeks. Our home remedies are usually enough to control these symptoms.1 I normally resort to turmeric in milk or merely a mix of honey, cinnamon and pepper to take the discomfort away.

Influenza aka ‘flu’, on the other hand, is caused by influenza viruses that are a little more attention-seeking. Besides a runny nose and chest congestion, it has further symptoms like fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, etc. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is an illness that infects the lungs along with the throat and nose thereby forcing our bodies to rest and continuously drink several fluids. Influenza infections generally spread during the monsoon and winter seasons and can be serious, especially for kids with vulnerable immune systems and adults with chronic illnesses.2

So, I advised my neighbour to check with her paediatrician about the flu shot that protects the body against several influenza viruses. The vaccine acts as active immunization against influenza by causing the body to produce its antibodies.3 The paediatrician will do a body check-up before prescribing the vaccine for you or your child.

The flu shot is available every year for anyone above the age of 6 months. This vaccination is imperative for those who are at a high risk of serious complications from influenza or those with a weak immune system.3

difference between a common cold and influenza
Pin it as a reminder!

My neighbour got back to me and thanked me for advising her to check about the influenza vaccine. She said that it gave her peace of mind and saved her a lot of unnecessary expenses of medications and doctor visits.

With frequent changes in weather conditions and kids returning to ‘offline’ school, I would suggest that, if your child is catching the flu more often than acceptable, do check with your paediatrician about the flu vaccination. We all strive to do our best for our kids and keep them safe from all the viruses flying around us. So, I’m sure you will agree that giving your child this annual vaccination is a must.

Does your child get sick often? Have you checked with your doctor about the flu vaccination yet?

If you found this helpful, do share it with those who need to realize that it’s time for them to consider getting the flu shot to #FightAgainstFlu.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm#:~:text=Flu%20vaccines%20cause%20antibodies%20to,infection%20with%20circulating%20influenza%20viruses.

Feature photo by cottonbro

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Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :) You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

29 Comments

  1. MeenalSonal says:

    According to the symptoms we cannot make the difference between Flu and common cold, it is surely better to get vaccinated to be on safer side.

  2. Yes, its the time that people should understand the difference, days are gone when cold was just cured with some traditional method but now its widespread and dangerous if ignored. Consulting Doctor is very important. Thank You for sharing this information.

  3. Quite an informative article this is. Also, I think in today’s time taking Influenza Vaccine should be a must.

  4. Pooja Jha says:

    You are right, most people don’t know that common cold & Flu are different and it’s not good to get flu frequently. We initially Influenza Vaccine but later on worked on improving our immunity and do certain things to keep our immune system strong in these chnging weathers. Such an informative post.

  5. Everyone should know about Flu and this week, I’m reading a lot of posts about it. Your posts answers all the questions that one might have in their mind. Also these are definitely going to help people.

  6. It is very important to understand the basic difference between flu and the common cold. We need to consult a paediatrician to know better and to get the shots

  7. I always thought both are similar may be influenza is bit severe. Never heard of flu shot but thanks for the info , I will forward this article to my sister who is a newly mom and has a three months old baby.

  8. Harjeet Kaur says:

    We are living in strange times. there are so many viruses these days that it is better to be protected against those that are known. Influenza vaccine does protect as you rightly said and it is better to be safe than sorry.

  9. Jeannine says:

    Knowledge and understanding is very important in every aspect. There may be doctors to distinguish the difference of this but its great to have this as common knowledge as well so we lessen the anxiousness and stress whenever you feel a bit ill.

  10. This is a really informative post. I often have patients come to me confused. This post will really help them understand in simple terms.

  11. Manisha Garg says:

    There is a difference between common cold and Influenza. Earlier both got cured relatively fast. This year I have found that seasonal flu has taken a toll on me and my little one so the doctor advised us for the vaccine.

  12. Pooja says:

    Thanks for sharing. I also swear by the flu shot. However, many doctors do not even suggest this on their own. It is only because I had heard of it I went and asked for it. Your post will help many parents like me who were not aware.

  13. Swati Mathur says:

    Prevention is better than cure. I think with changing climate one needs to be very careful with their and their families health. Flu vaccine is must as a preventative measures.

    • Dipika Singh says:

      This is something we must take very seriously, flu isn’t just passing cold or cough. It can turn into a nasty problem. Thanks for creating such a detailed post on the flu prevention.

  14. This is a very common misconception that common cold and influenza are the same. Influenza is way more serious and requires proper medication and doctor attention. You have stated the differences perfectly and easy to understand.

  15. I like how your post is short but insightful enough to inspire people to take notice. What inspired me a little more though, is how you took an episode from your life and saw in it the opportunity to spread awareness through your platform. And here we sit, wondering what to blog about, when life is a list one.

  16. Varsh says:

    Since it’s difficult to differentiate between common and cold and flu just from symptoms it’s always better to take shots and keep ourselves safe. Kids shouldn’t miss out on stuff due to it.

  17. Ritu Bindra says:

    We definitely need more awareness about the flu vaccines. More so in the current times. Glad you were able to guide your neighbor.

    • In India, we lack the ‘flu shot’ culture in general. I’ve never taken one myself. However, while medical sciences are advancing, viruses are evolving too. I wish more people would read this post to understand the importance.

  18. Madhu Bindra says:

    This is really important information. Many people are not are that these vaccines are available for children. It is necessary to consult the doctor first.

  19. Kaveri Chhetri says:

    Good article Cindy! 2 years of online schooling has made kids more vulnerable and reduced their immunity a great deal. For children who fall sick often, I think the flu jab is a good option.

  20. Vasumathi says:

    Rightly said Cindy. Many of us don’t know the diff & treat both the same. Sadly a careless attitude spreads the virus to others. One must act responsibly if they have flu and maintain hygiene when interacting with others

  21. Quite informative Cindy… I didn’t know there is any difference between these two. Thanks for sharing this.

  22. Samata says:

    As a child I was prone to cold and especially in the winter months. Things were just hell for me but all thanks to my mom and her home made solutions which now completely relieved me from cold and cough problems. Regarding flu kids are highly prone to it these days, should I blame their immunity power or the environment… I wonder and so far doctors here are not prescribing flu vaccinations. In short to me common cold and influenza are different but interconnected

  23. This is some valuable information you have given. The weather change is become like a tug of war at my place each weather change and hello cold and flu. So this is definitely going to help

  24. Informative post!! Children under the age of five are at a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications. A flu shot is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious effects. It can also help stop the flu from spreading to other kids. I, too, recommended my sister for this.

  25. […] blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand […]

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