There are subtle differences between a cold and flu, and sometimes it may be difficult to distinguish between the two. A common cold, including a head cold and chest cold, may be caused by any of more than 200 viruses. Seasonal flu, on the other hand, is caused either by Influenza A or B viruses. Remedies for cold and flu can help reduce the symptoms and provide relief. Antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza may help if prescribed quickly after the flu symptoms appear.
While it is difficult to differentiate between cold and flu symptoms, one clear difference is that flu symptoms appear much sooner than cold symptoms do, and they appear with much higher intensity. The patient may feel fatigued and weak for up to two to three weeks in case of flu. Muscle aches may occur and the patient may experience periods of sweats and chills as the fever comes and goes. Sore throat, headache, and stuffy or runny nose may also accompany other flu symptoms.
Depending on the symptoms, the flu treatment can be decided. For instance, in case of sinus or nasal congestion, a decongestant may be prescribed. Decongestants may be used in nasal spray or oral forms, but they should not be used for more than a few days. In case of symptoms such as itchy or watery eyes, runny nose and postnasal drip, an antihistamine may be helpful.
Both antihistamines and decongestants may interfere with other medications that the patient may be taking. Therefore, treatment must be taken under proper medical attention. The right treatment can be established on the basis of the nature and intensity of the flu symptoms.
Treatment for Nasal Congestion
Over the counter decongestant nasal sprays may offer quick relief for congested, swollen nasal passages. However, the treatment should be used only for about three to five days. Prolonged use may result in development of rebound congestion. Nowadays many doctors are recommending patients to use saline sprays for decongestion instead of medicated sprays.
New research says that saline solution works effectively to dissolve thick mucus in the nasal passageways. The advantage here is that saline is a natural solution and does not have the risk of rebound congestion. Saline treatment can be used for an extended period for better relief without any significant side effects. Similar over the counter treatment or home remedies may also be used in case of common cold when the symptoms are identical.