Colds and Flu
All You Need To Know
COLDS AND FLU?
Colds and flu viruses are either inhaled from the air, when someone sneezes or coughs, or passed on by contact. If you have had hand contact with someone who is infected, or if you touch a surface they’ve come into contact with, you may transfer the germs from your hand to your nose, mouth or eyes.2
COLDS AND FLU:
SECRETS TO NOT GETTING SICK
Colds and flu may be common, but if you take care of yourself, and others around you, you can minimise the risks of getting sick.
Be careful when you come into contact with someone who is unwell; make sure you wash your hands often with warm water and soap. Avoid sharing towels or household items (like cups) with people who are infected. Keep the home disinfected. Wipe down door handles and kitchen areas, they’re particularly highly populated areas of the home.3
Stay fit and healthy. Research shows people who exercise regularly are less likely to get a cold. A study of over 1,000 people found that staying active, almost halved the odds of catching cold viruses, and failing that, made the infection less severe.4 Experts reported to the British Journal of Sports Medicine that this is because exercise helps bolster the immune system to fight off germs.4
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
COLDS AND FLU?
Colds and flu share many of the same symptoms. But ask someone who’s had flu and they’ll tell you there’s a difference! Flu symptoms feel more severe. You’ll likely have the same tiredness, aches and pains but with flu it feels worse and comes with a fever. Also, flu tends to come on much faster than a cold.6 That’s why you may hear people say they’ve been “struck down by flu.”
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR?
You can have a cold for a few days before you know it. You are infectious to others at this time, also when the first symptoms are at their worst. Those first tell-tale symptoms can be a runny nose, sneezing, a scratchy dry sore throat as the virus hits the back of the nose first, and your immune system starts to kick in.7
As well as feeling tired and achy, you can have a host of other symptoms with a cold, including a blocked nose and pressure in your ears and face. You could lose your sense of taste and smell and have a headache. Sometimes you can have a cough and raised temperature.8
As with a cold, you can be infected with flu a few days before you realise it and the symptoms kick in. At this time, you will be carrying it.
Flu symptoms come on faster than those of a cold, which take a day or two to come out. You will quickly feel achy, feverish, sweaty and shivery. These symptoms should peak and then pass in a few days, but it can be as much as a week before you really start to feel better. Even then, you will feel drained and ‘wiped out’ for a few weeks more.10
WHAT’S THE OUTLOOK
If you’re wondering how long your cold will last, you should be symptom free withinabout a week. But if you’re one of the unlucky ones, your cold might linger for longer.
After around two weeks, you’ll start to produce antibodies that will protect and prevent you from catching that particular virus again. That’s the good news.
The bad news? With some 199 strains of cold virus in existence, you can catch a virus you haven’t yet had – and it can happen straight away.9
If you’ve got flu, the fever and other main symptoms should pass within a few days, you should feel better in a week, but will feel tired for a few weeks more.
You’ll start to develop a resistance by viral antibodies to stop you getting this exact flu virus again. But beware, because they can’t protect you from getting another type of flu again as the strains are constantly evolving.11
TAKE CARE OF COLDS AND FLU?
Flu is more severe than a cold, but many of the symptoms are the same. If you’re generally healthy and under age 65, you don’t need to see your GP. That’s because antibiotics won’t work against viruses.12
Consider seeing your GP if:
Otherwise, take care of yourself:
GOOD FOR COLDS AND FLU?
There are plenty of tried and trusted Lemsip products that can help ease cold and flu symptoms. You can pick them up from your local pharmacy or supermarket. They have different strength active ingredients and different formulations, designed to help with each of your symptoms. Some contain pharmacy strength ingredients so are not available for you to pick up directly off the shelf. Talk to your pharmacist about these, or if you’re not sure what to take.10