Common Cold Symptoms
The common cold is primarily caused by a virus. Viruses exist in hundreds of forms; however, most cause similar cold symptoms. Due to the ability of viruses to evolve at a rapid rate, they are constantly changing. This tricks our immune system and doesn’t allow us to build up resistance to all forms of viruses. This is why colds are so common and often return!
Viruses that cause the common cold are contagious. They can be spread by air droplets from and infected individual by coughing and sneezing. It is also spread by contact, such as touching a surface that has been infected (examples include: doorknobs, countertops, drinkware). Viruses are contagious from 1–2 days before symptoms begin until the symptoms have stopped.
Influenza Outbreaks Are Increasing
This year’s influenza outbreak is more intense than any since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and is still getting worse. New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal what so many have suspected: This is the worst flu season in nearly a decade.
This season is now on track to equal or surpass the 2014-2015 flu season. CDC data indicates “the flu is still spreading wildly, with 49 of the 50 states reporting ‘widespread’ activity, and that more than eight percent of all deaths in this country are from the flu and pneumonia, the highest we’ve seen this winter.”
Man Flu Does Exist
If you’re a woman, you know all about “man flu.” At the first sniffle or two, your guy starts to look downcast and lethargic. You know from past experience, he’s soon going to be sacked out on the couch for the next week or two, hoping you’ll be there waiting on him as if he’s on death’s door.
Men have always insisted that they really do get sicker. And now, they have a champion, a man who says science backs them up. Canadian researcher Dr. Kyle Sue, tired of hearing men’s complaints derided as exaggeration, decided to take a tour of the medical literature to see if there was any evidence to show that men actually do suffer more than women when they get the flu.
Don’t doubt it: “Man flu” is real, or so says one Canadian researcher who was “tired of being accused of overreacting.” They discovered men are more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses than women.
Wintertime Respiratory Illnesses
Wintertime is peak season for contracting illnesses. Due to the colder weather, we tend to stay inside more, which often puts us in proximity to disease-causing germs. When we do get sick, it can be frustrating not knowing exactly what we may have “caught”.
Is It a Cold or a Sinus Infection?
A cold can make you miserable, with symptoms like runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, etc. How do you know that what you think may be a cold might be something else, like a sinus infection? This summary, based on an article from The Cleveland Clinic, may help discern the difference.
Knowing the Difference Between Cold and Influenza Symptoms
The common cold and influenza are both respiratory illnesses that are caused by viruses. A person has around a 20% chance of getting influenza, but is likely to contract a cold 2-3 times, in an average year. Because these two illnesses have similar symptoms, it is important to understand what makes them different.
Different types of plants release pollen at different times of the year creating lots of allergies. In the spring, trees are the main pollinators; in summer, grasses are more active in their pollen release; and in the fall, ragweed causes most of the misery for allergy-sufferers. Many people still describe the fall season as “hay fever” time, though hay isn’t the cause of the problems.