It is often hard to know if you have a cold, flu, allergies, or a sinus infection.
Colds are short-lived and caused by a virus, whereas allergic rhinitis is caused by exposure to allergens that cause an immune response. Colds may take 2 or 3 days to develop. If it lasts longer than 2 weeks, it may be allergic rhinitis. Both can lead to a sinus infection that blocks mucus from draining, leading to painful pressure. A sinus infection is usually preceded by a cold or allergy, which does not improve or worsens after 5–7 days of symptoms.
Flu symptoms usually come on faster than cold symptoms and normally begin with a fever over 102°F, flushed face, body aches, and lack of energy. Other symptoms may be dizziness or vomiting. The fever can last up to 5 days. The whole-body symptoms last 2–4 days and respiratory symptoms may begin to increase. A virus in the respiratory tract may produce symptoms of a cold, croup, sore throat, bronchitis, ear infection, or pneumonia. Most of these symptoms usually disappear after 4–7 days, except for cough and tiredness, which can last for weeks.
Best defenses against contagious illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available (e.g. at stores)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Avoid crowds when flu is prevalent in your area
- Get plenty of sleep and exercise, drink lots of fluids, eat a well balanced diet, and manage your stress
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve
Peace & Wellness,
Carol Jones, Faith Community Nurse