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Common Cold

The Common Cold: Unthreatening But Inconvenient

With the winter seasons well underway and in expectation of early spring, it’s advised that you be prepared to deal with common illnesses. Of all the respiratory illnesses floating around, the common cold probably the most prevalent. In fact, the number of people who suffer from the cold every year is in the millions.  

Many people confuse influenza with the common cold. Let’s make it clear; these are two different conditions even though both of them have very similar symptoms. As such, they require different treatments and although usually they’re just inconvenient, the flu could pose greater risk of complications.

Influenza vs. the Common Cold, What’s the Difference?

There are a few very basic factors that differentiate the two illnesses. Although both are viral infections, they are caused by different types of viruses.


Influenza or the flu is caused by the influenza virus. There are four different strains of the virus, influenza A,B,C and D. Yearly influenza vaccinations can help immunize you against the Flu, assuming that reports are accurate  about what virus is going to more prevalent through flu season.

The Common Cold

This particular illness on the other hand has no cure, period. The common culprits of the common cold are:

  • The Rhinovirus
  • Corona Virus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Adenovirus
  • Enterovirus
  • Respiratory Syncytial virus

Besides the differences in the causes of the disease, there are some subtle differences in symptoms between the two:

  • During the common cold, you get low fevers; the flu is characterized with high fevers
  • The occasional headache with the cold; intense headaches with flu
  • Stuffy, runny nose when you get the cold; occasional runny nose in the flu
  • You sneeze a lot with the cold; you rarely ever sneeze when you get the flu
  • You may get a mild cough with the cold. With the flu virus your cough gets progressively worse
  • The fatigue is far less intense in the cold than in the flu.
  • You will definitely get a sore throat when you get the cold, you may not with flu.
  • Common cold is not exhausting, while the flu can leave you bed-ridden

The Common Cold Symptoms

Now that we have the differences between the flu and the common cold out of the way, we can come to what symptoms of the cold. If you observe children or yourself experiencing the following symptoms, it may be time to visit your doctor:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Mild fever
  • Weakness
  • Mild Headaches
  • Aching joints

Treatment and Prevention

Since the common cold is caused by quite a lot of viruses, medication to reduce to time span for condition have not been developed. When you contract the common cold, it will usually go away within a week on its own. However, you may wish to take some over-the-counter medication to help some of the pain related symptoms of the condition. As always, please consult your doctor before taking any medication.

There are plenty of ways to avoid the common cold during the winter season. Just as with the flu, the condition is transmitted through the air, contact with carriers or surfaces that might have been in contact with carriers. Some useful ways to prevent the condition are:

  1. Maintain good hygiene and always wash your hands.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid physical contact with people who have a cold.
  4. Cover yourself up when you sneeze or cough to reduce the risk of spread
  5. Frequently disinfect surfaces that have been in contact with sick people.

Stripes Primary Care is a primary healthcare service in Arizona. With clinics in Mesa, The Apache Junction and the Gold Canyon, they provide medical services that include allergy treatment, wellness and prevention advice as well as checkups.

Call Stripes Primary Care clinics today for more information on their services or to book an appointment with a doctor.

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