The Kleenex® Guide to Colds & Flu
A sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes, fever, aches and pains – we have all woken up with some or all of these ailments before. They can be symptoms of the common cold or the less rare, but more severe flu. Colds and flus are the main cause of sick days and the most frequent reason for a visit to the doctor. We’ve put together a guide to help you to understand colds and flu, but remember to always consult your health professional if you have any questions or concerns about your symptoms.
Facts you need to know
Although they’re usually more common in winter, colds have very little to do with cold weather. Colds are caused by viruses. There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold and at least one cold virus is in circulation at any given time. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs – but its effects can be felt through the whole body. The flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. The symptoms of flu and colds are similar, but flu symptoms come on suddenly, whereas cold symptoms take longer to develop.
Often one of the first cold symptoms to appear is an itchy nose. This is because the nose is usually the entry point for the virus. Cold symptoms become noticeable after one to four days, although sometimes it can take up to a week for the infection to take hold. The most common cold symptoms are: • Stuffy or runny nose • Ticklish or sore throat • Watery, red eyes • Sneezing and coughing • Headache • Loss of appetite • Tiredness and irritability • A husky voice Did you know? Children may get 5-10 colds a year* Colds are the most common reason that children miss school* Adults not in contact with young children may catch up to four colds a year and that number is greatly increased by contact with kids* Many Australians regularly catch a cold in spring* *http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/colds-and-flu
Always consult your health professional if you have questions about your symptoms and how to treat them. We’ve put together a list of steps that might help to soothe cold symptoms: 1. Get plenty of sleep. Resting boosts the immune system. 2. Drink lots of fluids. Aim for eight glasses of water a day. Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol as they can dehydrate you. 3. Eat fresh, nutritious food. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and grains. Juice is ideal for those with a lack of appetite. Avoid food which is high in sugar or heavily processed. 4. Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vapouriser. A humidifier or vapouriser can limit the conditions in which cold viruses thrive. Dry air dries the mucous membranes, causing a blocked nose and sore throat. Always have a tissue on hand to catch coughs and sneezes. Kleenex Special Care tissues, available in Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus, are designed specifically to help deal with the symptoms of colds and flu. When you are out and about, ensure you have Kleenex Pocket Pack tissues with you to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze and cough to limit the spread of the germs to others.
Young children catch more colds than adults, as they often forget to use a tissue and wash their hands after sneezing and coughing – this can increase the rate of spread of germs. We can all try to avoid catching and spreading cold viruses by being very conscious of hygiene. The simple 3-step Sneezesafe method is key:
People often have a combination of several flu symptoms. Flu sufferers typically complain of feeling very unwell and low on energy. The result can be that they have to spend several days resting in bed. The flu develops suddenly – usually one or two days after contact with the virus. Symptoms may include:
Always consult your health professional if you have questions about your symptoms and how to treat them. The flu can survive for up to 48 hours outside of the body – i.e. on surfaces and objects – so hygiene plays a crucial part in reducing the risk of reinfection and the spread of the flu virus
While considered a debilitating, yet manageable disease, the flu can cause more serious health problems for some people, especially if they have other conditions such as asthma, or their fever and breathing troubles worsen or persist. Consider immunisation** – ask your GP about getting a flu shot next time you have a check-up. It’s an easy way to protect yourself from colds and flu during the winter months.