Many people are struck down by cold and flu viruses every year, but they are unable to tell them apart. What are the differences between the two, what causes them and what can we do to protect our ourselves from them this winter? Let’s find out.
Causes of cold and flu
It is a common misconception that cold and flu are caused by a dip in outside temperature. While the cooler weather may have a bearing, since many more people are struck down by these viruses during the cooler months, the only thing that causes a cold or flu is the cold or flu virus. There are many different strains to these viruses, and all of them are extremely contagious. Hence, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your family from illness.
Some of the most common ways of contracting cold and flu include:
- Touching a surface contaminated by the cold or flu virus, and touching mouth, nose or eyes with the same hand.
- Inhaling the virus after infected person sneezes or coughs in your vicinity.
Tips for cold and flu prevention
You can beat the cold and flu with plenty of rest and fluids, and also take steps to prevent the spread of the viruses in the first place:
- Keep the house clean. As mentioned earlier, it is possible to contract the cold and flu viruses by touching surfaces contaminated with them, and then inadvertently touching the nose, eyes or mouth. This can be prevented by regularly cleaning the surfaces and door handles in the house with Dettol Disinfectant Multi-Use Hygiene Liquid. You can’t do this at work, so you should clean your computer keyboard, phone and other spots clean with anti-bacterial wipes.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue. Always carry a tissue when you have a cold so that you can cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. This prevents the cold and flu viruses transferring into the air and impacting others. All used tissues should be thrown away at once. Once you sneeze or blow your nose, wash your hands with Dettol Original Liquid Hand Wash.
- Do not touch your mouth, nose and eyes. Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. You will remain protected if you don’t touch your face before washing your hands.
- Use your own plates and spoons. You can stop the spread of germs to others by using your own plates, spoons, forks and other cutlery, when you have the cold or flu. The flu takes a few days to set in, so you can spare others exposure from germs by using your own items instead of sharing them with others. This precaution also keeps you safe from infected persons.
- Clean your clothes. Your clothes can house illness-causing germs. If you or your family members have been suffering from cold or flu, you should add Disinfectant Multi-Use Hygiene Liquid or Dettol Antiseptic Liquid to your laundry load to kill any stubborn germs.
- Care for yourself. Your immune system will thank you if you eat healthy, nutritious meals and get enough sleep at night. Avoid close contact with those suffering from cold or flu.
- Practice good hand hygiene. The easiest way for cold and flu viruses to spread is by contaminated hands touching other people and surfaces. Practicing good hygiene can prevent the spread of cold and flu. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with warm water and Dettol Original Liquid Hand Wash to stop the spread of cold and flu viruses. If you are out and far away from soap and water, use Dettol Liquid Hand Sanitiser to protect yourself from harmful germs.
- Teach your children good hygiene habits. The cold and flu viruses are highly contagious, and children in close contact with each other are particularly at risk. Teach your children good hand washing techniques and encourage them to wash their hands regularly in the day with soap and water. Know more by following our step-by-step handwashing guide here.
You are aware that cold and flu viruses are very contagious, and it helps to be aware of their symptoms so that you can take a few extra precautions. You can protect yourself and your family with these tips, and with adequate rest and washing your hands frequently with soap and water you can prevent the spread of germs.
A cold is a mild viral infection affecting the nose and throat. It is very common and usually clears up within a week or two. Its main symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
The flu is a respiratory infection, brought on by the influenza virus. The symptoms of flu appear suddenly and are quite similar to those of the common cold, but they are usually more severe in intensity. The flu can also lead to more serious health problems such as pneumonia, hence it is important to take medication and rest when you suffer from it. The symptoms of flu are:
- Sudden onset of fever
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Chest congestion and cough