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Is It a Cold or the Flu?

Is It a Cold or the Flu?

(NUI)- It starts with a tickle in your throat and a few sneezes. Pretty soon, you are coughing, aching and feeling generally miserable. Is it a cold or the more serious illness, the flu?
While many people confuse the two, they are actually quite different.
Colds are minor infections of the nose and throat caused by any of hundreds of different viruses; the flu is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the influenza virus that can lead to complications such as pneumonia or even death.
Even though colds and the flu are different, prevention techniques for both are similar because they are contracted the same way. While there are no surefire solutions, there are easy ways to decrease your chances of getting sick.
* Wash your hands. Washing your hands is the single most effective way to keep from catching a cold or spreading one to someone else. Both colds and the flu can be passed via inanimate objects such as doorknobs and telephones. If you come in contact with a contaminated surface and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes, it is easy for the virus to enter your body.
* Don't smoke. Cigarette smoke has been shown to increase an individual's susceptibility to a cold virus.
* Eat right. A balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables provides you with vitamins and other immunity-boosting substances.
* Practice healthy habits. Getting enough sleep and exercising can help you maintain a strong immune system to fight off the germs that cause illness.
* Stay away from people who are sick. Do not share food, drinks, utensils, dishes or cups with anyone who has a cold or the flu. Also, keep your distance from others in crowds.
If you still get sick with a cold or the flu, treatment options differ. For a cold, pharmacists and doctors recommend Cold-Eeze, an over-the-counter remedy containing zinc gluconate glycine that is clinically proven to reduce the duration of the common cold.
If you have the flu, there are several antiviral influenza medications that, like Cold-Eeze, can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. However, since these medicines are available by prescription only, you must first visit your doctor to find out if they are right for you. For more information regarding the differences between a cold and the flu, visit

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