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Differences of colds, SARS and flu. This is important to know!

Symptoms of influenza, colds and SARS

Have you caught a cold and is it SARS or the flu? Or maybe it's the "swine" flu ?! If you learn to distinguish ARVI from the flu, you will always keep the situation under control, keep the nerve cells and protect yourself from serious health problems.

Colds - cooling the body or parts of the body, which is the cause of various diseases. In non-medical sources, the disease itself is also called a cold, caused by cooling the body. In everyday life, colds (colds) are often called infectious diseases:

  • Influenza, Parainfluenza
  • Acute Respiratory Viral Infection (ARVI)
  • Nasopharyngitis, pharyngitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Herpes simplex

Viral infections are not directly related to body cooling, although hypothermia itself can increase the body's susceptibility to infection and facilitate infection.

Symptoms: flu, colds and SARS

In order not to be mistaken, it is vitally important to know what is the difference between the usual COLD, SARS and INFLUENZA.

1. Deterioration of health when:

  • colds - gradual;
  • ARVI - fast;
  • flu - sudden: the person does not mark the exact moment of the disease.

2. Body temperature at:

  • colds - usually not higher than 37.5 ° C;
  • ARVI - always above 38 ° C;
  • flu - 39-40 ° C - it appears suddenly and remains high for 3-4 days.

3. Intoxication with:

  • a cold - it is not there;
  • ARVI - is expressed in increased fatigue;
  • there is flu, but it is even pronounced and manifests itself with severe chills, unbearable headache, pain even when moving the eyeballs, profuse sweating, photophobia, the presence of aches in muscles and joints.

4. Runny nose and nasal congestion with:

  • cold - appears in the first hours of the disease;
  • ARVI - occurs in the first days of the disease;
  • influenza - can appear as complications no earlier than 2-3 days after the onset of the disease.

5. Sneezing when:

  • colds - accompanied by a runny nose;
  • ARVI - always accompanies her;
  • flu - most often absent.

6. Sore throat and redness with:

  • colds - discomfort in the throat manifests itself on the 2nd day after hypothermia;
  • ARVI - appears immediately along with a cough and has a pronounced character;
  • flu - appears on the 2nd day of the disease, in addition, there is a cough caused by chest pain.

7. Eye discomfort with:

  • a cold is absent;
  • SARS - it happens, but rarely (if a bacterial infection has joined);
  • flu - redness often occurs.

8. Headache with:

  • a cold - does not appear;
  • ARVI - with complications of the disease (sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis);
  • flu - strong, which is difficult to endure without painkillers.

9. Increased fatigue with:

  • a cold is absent;
  • ARVI - may occur in the case when the high temperature lasts more than a day;
  • flu - eat and persist even for 2-3 weeks after the disease.

10. Insomnia with:

  • a cold - it is not there;
  • ARVI - may occur due to high temperature;
  • flu - eat and persist even for 2-3 weeks after the disease.

What is the difference between colds and flu?

What is the difference between colds and flu? - Symptoms of influenza, colds and SARS

The frivolous word "cold" in everyday life we ​​call a lot of highly contagious viral diseases, which, as a rule, begin with inflammation of the nasal mucosa and pharynx. Most of them belong to acute respiratory viral infections - acute respiratory viral infections.

Influenza is also SARS , but it begins and proceeds harder than other diseases of this group (parainfluenza, adenovirus and rhinovirus infection, etc.). With it, typical symptoms are manifested more strongly - temperature, cough, sore throat, and severe signs of intoxication are added: chills, body aches, headache, often nausea and even clouding of consciousness. Influenza is really very dangerous complications. That is why it cannot be equated with a “common cold” and carried on one's feet.

Is it possible to get sick from the cold?

Можно ли заболеть от холода? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

Not. The fact that you will certainly get sick if you freeze, soak your feet, freeze your head, or eat ice cream on the street in winter is “grandma's tales”.

But the truth is that hypothermia will lower your immunity, opening the way for viruses, and if they have already entered the body, then the cold will accelerate the infection and intensify unpleasant painful symptoms.

How not to catch a cold?

Как не заразиться простудой? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

First, let's answer the reverse question: how to get infected? The first way is to inhale the viral particles from a coughing or sneezing person. The second way is to touch the nose, mouth or eyes with unwashed hands after contact with a sick person, or public objects on which colds also live.

Following simple logic, in order not to become infected, you need:

  • avoid contact with patients, if possible, do not breathe common air with them, ventilate the room;
  • Do not touch your face with dirty hands; wash them thoroughly with soap.

Will the medical mask protect?

Защитит ли медицинская маска? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

In fact, the mask should be worn by the sick - so as not to spread viruses to others. But to a healthy one, she does not give any guarantee of protection. Moreover, if you use it incorrectly (and most do), then you can even speed up the infection.

To prevent this, observe the following rules:

  • do not wear one mask for more than three hours, otherwise it will become an incubator of the infection itself;
  • do not stick your nose out, do not tug on the mask, wear it as tight as possible to the face;
  • do not throw the used mask anywhere and do not keep it in an open bin - it’s better to immediately send it to the chute.

Does the flu vaccine really work?

Правда ли работает вакцина от гриппа? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

A vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu, and pregnant women need it. But it is important to get vaccinated before the start of the traditional winter epidemic, that is, in the fall, preferably until the end of October, and not to have a cold at that moment.

Why do some get sick even after the right vaccination? Because there are a lot of influenza viruses and they quickly mutate, and the vaccine is created every year only against the most aggressive strains, which, according to the forecasts of WHO doctors, are most likely to cause a seasonal epidemic. But even picking up the flu of another strain or a different respiratory viral infection in general, the vaccinated person will transfer the disease more easily and quickly return to normal.

How to be treated if you still get infected?

Как лечиться, если всё-таки заразился? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

No matter how trite, peace and heavy drinking are the basis for the treatment of all acute respiratory viral infections, including influenza. At rest, the body completely focuses on the fight against infection, and drinking (tea, decoctions, warm milk, mineral water, berry fruit drinks) makes up for the loss of fluids, vitamins and trace elements and helps sputum discharge.

As for medicines, with colds, WHO advises limiting oneself to a simple and safe minimum to alleviate symptoms: antipyretic / analgesic (paracetamol - one of the most harmless analgesics) and decongestant from the common cold.

The same is true for flu, if the symptoms are moderate. However, if the disease began more severely, you need to call a doctor to prescribe antiviral drugs.

Are there any effective cold remedies?

Есть ли эффективные средства от простуды? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

Unfortunately, no , because there are too many viruses and they quickly mutate in the body, developing resistance to drugs. Based on this, think, do you really want to poison yourself or your child?

Here's what you need to know before you go to the pharmacy:

  • Antiviral drugs act only against influenza (and not other acute respiratory viral infections) and are most effective in the first 48 hours from the time of illness. Later, they can be beneficial if they are correctly prescribed by a doctor.
  • Antivirals, like cough suppressants, have a lot of side effects that are especially dangerous for children under 12 years old. But adults are at risk when they are pumped up with drugs on their own, because they "have no time to get sick."
  • Most of the popular “cold and flu” pharmacy products only temporarily relieve symptoms, but do not cure the disease itself and do not shorten its duration.
  • Many drops and nasal sprays dry and destroy the mucous membrane to facilitate breathing.
  • Antibiotics do not treat colds because they kill bacteria, not viruses. Taking them with ARVI and flu is a crime, because beneficial microbes die, and the body weakens even more. Antibiotics may be needed for some complications, but this should be determined by the doctor and prescribe a dosage.

When to bring down the temperature?

Когда сбивать температуру? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

When it is above 38.5 degrees . Heat is the body’s most important weapon against infection, but after this mark it begins to threaten the body itself.

Too high temperature in combination with viral intoxication can adversely affect internal organs. Extreme heat is especially dangerous for cores and patients with thyroid problems.

How to treat a cold during pregnancy?

Как лечить простуду при беременности? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

The key principle: self-medication is unacceptable, including "grandmother's means", because there are many nuances and contraindications. Always consult a doctor. By the way, it is important not to confuse the first signs of a cold and flu with the usual malaise during pregnancy, for this you need to monitor the temperature and condition of the throat.

Even the most seemingly harmless methods that are suitable for everyone carry risks for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester, when the mother’s body adapts to a new state and the most important organs of the child are laid. For example, drinking plenty of fluids can cause swelling, you can gargle with chamomile, eucalyptus, sage, but many other decoctions and herbal preparations are dangerous, you can’t soar your feet. You need to bring down the temperature only after 38 degrees, but you can not wrap yourself and overheat.

Most pharmaceutical drugs are strictly contraindicated for expectant mothers. Aspirin is strictly prohibited. Moreover, the effect of the bulk of drugs on pregnant women is poorly studied, data is regularly updated, and instructions may be outdated. Therefore, again: no self-medication.

What can not be done when treating a child?

Чего нельзя делать при лечении ребёнка? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

According to pediatricians, “caring” adults make a lot of stupid mistakes when they undertake to treat the child themselves, and as a result, he begins to get sick more often.

Here are some common mistakes

Antibiotics for colds - Not only is this generally wrong (see paragraph 8), it’s also because of this “therapy” that the child’s body stops fighting the disease on its own.

Grinding with vodka or vinegar - These "tested grandmother's products" dry sensitive baby skin, and if it is dry, then alcohol and acid are absorbed into the blood. To bring down the heat, it is enough to wipe the child with water at room temperature.

Tea with raspberries - Tea - a strong diuretic, raspberries - a powerful diaphoretic. Such a “double blow” will lead to dehydration and weaken the child’s body if it has not previously received enough fluid. For this child, you need to drink other drinks without a diuretic and diaphoretic effect.

Warming up and compresses - You can’t warm the inflammation, thermal procedures only increase the edema. Therefore, hot salt in a bag with a cold and a warm compress on a sore throat is harm, not benefit.

In general, if you are not a pro, then do not play a doctor when your child is not sickly. And certainly call a real doctor when there are dangerous symptoms: rapid breathing or shortness of breath, persistent temperature, cramps .

How many times a year is it normal to get sick?

Сколько раз в год нормально болеть? - Симптомы гриппа, простуды и ОРВИ

Adults “catch a cold” on average 2-4 times a year, women more often, probably because they have more contact with children.

Children, in turn, fall ill 6-10 times a year. Moreover, any normal child of preschool age should get sick with ARVI and flu just as many times - this is how his immunity is included in the full-fledged work. Worse, if the child does not get sick, it means that he has a weak immune response, says Alexander Rumyantsev, chief pediatrician-hematologist of the Russian Ministry of Health.

Finally, people over 60 catch a cold on average 1 time per year or less.

However, it is not so much the frequency that matters, but the nature of the disease. It’s normal to undergo a mild cold a few times, but getting a long and severe infection twice is an occasion to contact an immunologist.


Staying in the cold lowers the temperature of the human body (at a rate of 36.6 ° C). In air at 27 ° C, a naked man keeps his normal temperature, and in water, whose heat capacity is much greater, only at 32–36 ° C. But cooling causes an organism reaction: involuntary - reduction of smooth muscles of the skin and blood vessels, reducing heat loss of the body, plus increased metabolism, increasing heat production, and voluntary muscle movements, which also lead to increased heat production. In intoxicated, sleeping, paralyzed this active reaction does not occur, because they are more easily exposed to the harmful effects of a cold. But with a longer and more intense exposure to cold, a healthy body is not able to maintain a normal temperature. Due to the fact that cooling the surface of the body causes a contraction of blood vessels, blood flows to other areas, causing hot flashes to the internal organs, which cannot be indifferent to them, especially if they already have painful changes; in heart disease, for example, or fragility of blood vessels, such flushing can lead to bleeding. Internal organs are even more sensitive to direct cooling, for example, strong cooling of the peritoneum can directly lead to death.

An essential way to prevent colds, including nasopharyngitis, is hardening. Hardening consists in accustoming the skin and its vessels to quickly respond to changes in temperature. In order not to harm the body, it should be conducted gradually and carefully. It is advisable to begin hardening from early childhood, after four weeks of life, gradually lowering the temperature of the bath for the newborn to a temperature consistent with the recommendations of specialists. After the bath there is a quick dousing of the body with slightly colder water and a strong wipe with a dry (terry) towel. From the second year you can be content with one dousing, which is done every morning. But hardening also has its limits. Thermal energy is generated from the food we take; if we didn’t protect ourselves with clothes from excessive heat loss, we would have, according to the apt expression of Jurgensen, to eat only to warm our body.

They also carry out activities to destroy pathogens in their home. For this they use, among other things, modern disinfection methods: a wet kitchen towel for dishes is placed for 2 minutes in a microwave oven, all pathogenic microbes die from high temperature and steam. It is necessary to regularly clean, ventilate the rooms, wash hands after visiting public places and before eating.

During epidemics, long stays in public places should be avoided, the outer sections of the nasal passages are lubricated with oxolin ointment. Garlic is used as a natural antibiotic.

In cooler times, it is useful to wear not very dense woolen fabrics directly on the body, which, in addition to being highly elastic and, moreover, densely seated on the surface with thin, elastic hairs, so they do not fit so tightly on the body as linen, silk and other, but there is always air space between them and the skin; air, like a poor conductor of heat, mainly delays heat transfer. Wool for legs is especially recommended. Compared to its mass, the legs have a large surface, in addition, they lie farthest from the heart down, so the heat transfer from them takes place faster and penetrates deeper. You should avoid getting wet feet, which is so often the cause of colds, it is useful to wear high-quality, warm and waterproof shoes, preferably made of genuine animal skin.

An important prevention of colds is a healthy lifestyle: full sleep (about 8 hours a day), exercise, walking, eating a variety of foods containing vitamins, regular outings from large industrial cities.


In the statistics of infectious diseases, influenza and SARS are 95%. The inability of modern medicine to defeat these diseases so far is explained by their ability to rapidly evolve. Most people have not learned how to distinguish between flu and a common cold, and this can lead to serious complications, which in some cases result in death, due to improper and timely treatment.

Doctors unanimously say that the cause of death in most cases is a late appeal for qualified help. People habitually try to rest, feeling unwell and get along with the traditional set of familiar pills and medicines for colds. But the flu gives a complication and develops into pneumonia, which on the “gulls” quickly “burns out” a person.

Now in Ukraine, flu is rampant, claiming more and more human lives. Doctors unanimously say that the cause of death in most cases is a late appeal for qualified help. People habitually try to rest, feeling unwell and get along with the traditional set of familiar pills and medicines for colds. But the flu gives a complication and develops into pneumonia, which on the “gulls” quickly “burns out” a person.

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