Colds & Flu
HealthDay News Feed
Colds are caused by viruses. When these germs infect the nose, clear mucus is made. This can be good because it helps get rid of the germs. After two or three days, the body’s immune system fights back, changing the mucus to a white or yellow color. The bacteria living in the mucus changes to a greenish color. This is normal and does not mean you need an antibiotic. However, the germs that cause colds are contagious. You can pick them up when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or upon skin contact. Still, after a couple of weeks your symptoms should disappear.
The flu is contagious and is caused by the influenza viruses. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Statistics show that 5-20% of the population gets the flu. Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and stomach upset. Young children, older people, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions are at increased risk for complications from the flu.
Colds and flus are caused by viruses. Strong medicines called antibiotics can only treat germs caused by bacteria, which is a different type of germ. No one should take antibiotics unless they need them. If you or your child take antibiotics for the wrong reason, you may “develop resistance” to the antibiotics. That means the antibiotics will no longer be able to kill bacteria.
It is tough when you or your kids get sick. The best thing to do is to get plenty of rest and fluids. Ask your doctor for some simple medicine recommendations to help with aches and pains. You can also protect yourself from colds and flus. The most basic way is by washing your hands often using warm, soapy water. You can also contact your provider or local pharmacy for more information on getting vaccinated to protect against the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu (a.k.a. “swine flu”).
For more information on colds and flus:
- A Guide for Parents: Runny Nose
- Snort Sniffle Sneeze: No Antibiotics Please
- Colds or Flu Antibiotics Don’t Work for You
- Facts about the Flu
- Stop the Spread of Influenza
- No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine
- The Flu: A Guide for Parents
- NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene: Influenza Information