Recover Quickly From Your Cold or Flu!

The cold and flu are two illnesses that are extremely common. The symptoms of cold and flu are unpleasant, but generally can be treated effectively at home.

The symptoms of the common cold and flu closely resemble many other illnesses and conditions. Often these illnesses can be effectively treated at home, but it is important to seek medical attention if symptoms persist or become worrisome. Keep reading to find out more about the cold and flu and other similar illnesses.

Stomach Flu

Many people confuse influenza with the stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Influenza affects the respiratory system including the nose, throat and lungs. Gastroenteritis affects the intestines making your stomach feel sick and queasy.

Flu Symptoms

Gastroenteritis symptoms may last for a couple days, with more serious cases lasting upwards of a week. The symptoms of gastroenteritis closely resemble the symptoms of other illnesses and viruses including salmonella, giardia and E. coli.

A few of the most common flu symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Belly pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches

It is important for people to keep an eye on their symptoms to make sure that they are not getting worse. If a person’s symptoms include a fever over 104 F, vomiting blood, or have blood in their bowel movements, they should seek medical help.  

Viral gastroenteritis is contracted in a variety of ways including eating contaminated food or water or sharing utensils, towels and more. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by noroviruses.

There are many treatment options available for those who have gastroenteritis. Treatment options include drinking plenty of fluids, sticking to a bland diet, rest, taking pain relievers and keeping an eye on symptoms.

Common Cold

The common cold is an illness. It is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is most frequently caused by the rhinovirus, coronavirus, influenza and parainfluenza, although there are more than 200 viruses that cause cold-like symptoms. A cold is transmitted in a variety of ways including direct physical contact with someone who is infected with the virus. It is also spread through infected moisture droplets released by an infected person when they cough, talk or sneeze. The virus is also transmitted by a person touching surfaces that have the germs on it such as doorknobs and computer keyboards and then touching their mouth or nose.

Common Cold Symptoms

The symptoms of a cold include:

  • Sore throat
  • Scratchy throat
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Excess mucus
  • Stuffy nose
  • Feeling rundown
  • Watery eyes

Most colds will go away on their own after a week to ten days. If symptoms persist or get worse, a doctor’s visit may be in order.

Cold Remedies

There are many at-home remedies that can help to relieve symptoms of a cold. A few of the most common cold remedies include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Nasal sprays
  • Vitamins, Echinacea, Zinc
  • Drinking lots of fluids
  • Rest
  • Using a humidifier
  • Gurgling hot water with salt

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a common illness that is caused by eating contaminated food. The food is often contaminated with a variety of infectious organisms including toxins, bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Food poisoning is often mild and gets better without treatment. Food poisoning can also be serious with some people requiring treatment at the hospital.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

The symptoms of food poisoning depend on the source of contamination. The symptoms of food poisoning often occur within hours or a few days after eating the contaminated food. The symptoms generally last a few hours to a few days. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Belly pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

A person should seek medical attention if their symptoms of food poisoning persist for longer than a few days or include the following:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Bloody vomit
  • Bloody stools
  • Dehydration
  • Extreme abdominal pain or cramping
  • Persistent and chronic diarrhea
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle tingling

Treatment of food poisoning usually depends on the severity of symptoms and source of food poisoning. Treatment options often include drinking lots of fluids including beverages that are rich in electrolytes, sodium, potassium, and calcium. Most people will feel better after getting lots of rest and taking it easy for a few days is often beneficial treatment as well. Children, seniors and people with weakened immune systems or other illnesses should keep a close eye on their symptoms to ensure that their overall health is not affected. Those who are experiencing persistent or serious symptoms should seek medical attention for treatment options which may include antibiotics.

Sore Throat

A sore throat is a common condition that people experience for a variety of reasons. A sore throat may be due to overuse including yelling, talking and coughing. A sore throat may also be due to air pollution, smoking and changes in air pressure. Certain health conditions can also cause a sore throat including bacterial infections, a cold, mononucleosis, cancer, tonsillitis and more.

The symptoms of a sore throat often include:

  • Scratchy feeling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Pain
  • Dry feeling

If a sore throat is accompanied by a high fever, difficulty breathing, body pain and other serious symptoms a doctor should be seen. The doctor will perform a physical examination and will run certain tests which may include a throat swab or blood test to determine the cause. Based on symptoms and the test results the doctor will prescribe a treatment plan.

Sore Throat Remedies

The right treatment for a sore throat depends on the cause, but there are many at home treatments that can effectively manage symptoms. A few of the most common at-home sore throat remedies include:

  • Drinking lots of fluids - It is important to ensure that the body doesn’t become dehydrated when a person is experiencing a sore throat.
  • Warm beverages - Warm liquids can help to soothe the throat including hot water infused with lemon or honey. Gargling warm salt water can also provide relief from symptoms.
  • Ice chips - Sucking on ice chips can provide relief from a scratchy, dry and sore throat.
  • Rest - Getting lots of rest can allow the immune system to effectively fight off whatever is causing the sore throat.
  • Eat healthy - A healthy diet gives the body the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients it needs to recover.
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