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Colds and Flu: Advice and how to tell the difference

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Question: I always get the sniffles around this time of year, but I never know whether I’m suffering from a cold or the flu. What’s the difference and how can I tell?

16 September, 2008

Answer: Generally speaking, a cold starts gradually, raising your body temperature slightly after the first 24 hours.

Your appetite will probably remain the same, although you may start to experience mild headaches, a blocked or runny nose with sneezing, a sore throat and an overall feeling of tiredness.

Flu, on the other hand, starts rapidly, raising the body’s temperature considerably within the first 24 hours and for a sustained period of up to 5 days.

You will probably lose your appetite, experience severe headaches, muscular aches and pains, nausea and vomiting and feel generally exhausted.

Fortunately, however, natural remedies can help stave off colds and flu by boosting your immune system.

Probably the most well known is Echinacea, one of nature’s more potent immune boosters. There are several Echinacea supplements to choose from, including A Vogel Echinaforce from Bioforce.

For children over the age of two you could try Echinacea Junior tablets or Echinacea Complex drops.

People with leukaemia or HIV should consult their GP before use.

Garlic is also claimed to help prevent common cold and influenza infections. One of its most active ingredients is thought to be an anti-microbial agent called Allicin, which is present in garlic powder and fresh garlic, but not in garlic oil or macerated garlic.

As a trace element, Zinc is important in the diet as over 80 enzymes are known to require Zinc for their normal activity. In particular, it is believed that Zinc medications may coat the common cold viruses and prevent them from attaching to the nasal cells.

Large doses of our old friend vitamin C are also required to effectively boost the immune system, because it is unlikely that the small doses of vitamin C in many common cold medications provide are sufficient.

Finally, the new season’s homeopathic cold and flu vaccine is now available, which is pleasant and very simple to take.

Suitable for young and old alike it is taken by mouth in tiny dissolvable pills, once every two weeks and will provide protection safely and effectively.

Summary of how to tell the difference between Cold and Flu:

Cold

– Starts gradually
– Slight temperature after first 24 hours
– Normal appetite
– Slight headache
– Stuffed up or runny nose with sneezing
– Soar throat
– Feeling tired

Flu

– Starts Rapidly
– Raised temperature in first 24 hours Lasting 3/5 days
– Loss of appetite
– Severe headache
– Muscular aches and pains
– Nausea and vomiting
– Feeling exhausted

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