Cold and Flu

Questions and friendus about the "Common Cold"; symptoms in the upper respiratory tract like sneezing, scratchy throat, and runny nose, but adults don't typically have fevers. Colds are usually caused by the rhinovirus (up to 40% of colds), or Coronaviruses (about 20%), but there are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Also questions about the seasonal flu, also called "regular flu", caused mostly by Type A and Type B Influenza viruses. Flu starts with similar symptoms as a cold only it hits faster and harder and usually includes fever in adults. Although the "stomach flu" is a common term, it is not a real diagnosis. The proper medical term for stomach flu is gastroenteritis (an intestinal disease, sometimes viral but also bacterial), it is often mistaken for influenza because the flu can sometimes include vomiting and diarrhea.

Cold and Flu
Body Temperature

Can you catch a cold from being in the cold?

No. For example, people in Alaska don't get more colds than people anywhere else. We do have more colds in winter than in summer, but not because of the cold (see more on why below). Cold weather conditions play no role except as mentioned below about absolute humidity levels in the winter. One of the expert scientists (Bill Nye) said that you can not catch a cold from being cold; you catch a cold from germs and being cold has nothing to do with it. Plenty of tests have been conducted proving this.

The old belief that freezing temperatures cause illness started before people knew about germs; however, it continues to be passed along to others as a legend today and is not an evidence based finding from studies - just based on anecdotes and incorrect associations.

It has been scientifically studied with double blind test groups and there was no difference found in the rate of infection with common cold viruses when the study groups were exposed to cold temperatures or heat via different methods. The results of those studies were peer reviewed. "No" has become the current most accepted answer to the question by scientists and medical professionals.

Then why do we get more colds and flu in winter and cold weather?

It had been long held that this was most probably due to school children returning to schools and people being in closer proximity indoors in winter where they could pass all their germs around more easily. One of the most commonly cited studies used as a basis for this hypothesis was the "Seattle Virus Watch", done by John Fox, Carrie Hall, and friends.

Another hypothesized explanation had been that our Vitamin D production is lower in winter due to less exposure of our skin to sunlight, and since Vitamin D improves the immune system's ability to fight off infections, our defenses are made weaker in winter with Vitamin D deficiency. Another commonly held belief was that in drier air our mucous tissues dry out and can crack, making the viruses more easily introduced to the body. Some combination of all these factors may be at play.

However, the most recent studies have all seemed to point more to the different absolute humidity levels in winter compared to those in summer. Cold and flu viruses like it dry. See the related question below, "Why does the flu have a season?" for more details about these recent findings.

Check out the discussion section for comments, anecdotes, and discussion.


It is often believed that colds and flu and other infectious diseases can be caused by cold weather, changes in temperatures, being wet outside, or having wet hair, etc. None of this is correct information.

People also often say that being cold affects your immune system so you are more susceptible to infections. This is also not correct. When this is discussed, it doesn't just mean feeling chilly or even getting "goosebumps" or shivering. Hypothermia can have negative effects on your entire body including the immune system, but just being cold is not hypothermia. When medical studies use that term, it is used to refer to a specific measurement of core body temperature.

Hypothermia is not the same as being cold, it is a specific medical diagnosis and:

  • It is defined as a core body temperature that is at or below 95 F (35 C).
  • Needs to be treated if body temperature goes below 95 F (35 C).
  • Becomes life threatening below body temperatures of 90 F (32.2 C).
  • Affects motor coordination through impact to the nervous system at 95 F.
  • When the body temperature drops that low, at the start of a hypothermic condition, symptoms can include intense uncontrollable shaking and shivering, then if your body continues to get colder, the shivering stops when the core temperature gets between 90 F and 86 F.
  • It causes heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure to rise during the first stages of hypothermia as your body tries to increase metabolism and warm itself, but these vital signs fall once the temperature gets 90°F (32.2°C).
  • Creates coma at below 86 F.
  • Heart rate becomes very irregular below 82 F and death can soon follow.

The reason the disease is called a "cold" does come from the myth and misunderstandings from back when it was thought that upper respiratory viral infections were caused by cold since most often occurred in cold times of the year and when they had no clue about disease-producing microbes. We know that is incorrect now, but the popular name of the "common cold" has not changed to its more proper name: a Rhinovirus infection.

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Health
Cold and Flu
Infectious Diseases
Viruses (biological)

How can you protect yourself and others from viruses and flu?

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Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Infectious Diseases
Immune System

Why do you get Muscle ache with flu?

Muscle aches caused by a flu virus cannot be accounted for by fluid loss from excretions and emesis alone, because often muscle aches are the first sign of the flu, long before vomiting or diarrhea may ever occur (and they do not occur in most flu infected folk). Instead, it is the increasing body temperature (the fever that is one of the body's most effective responses for killing off heat-susceptible invaders) that causes an increase in water usage at the cellular level. Full body dehydration then almost inevitably occurs, as the flu-infected usually have their thirst and appetite mechanisms decreased as well. However, as the previous writer puts it: One of the most notable symptoms of having the "flu"the is a persistant (and often disgusting!) loss of fluid. This can be a result of vomiting, diarrhea or often a combination of the two. Within this fluid are precious ions (electrolytes) that enable all the good stuff in your body to happen: Muscle contractions, nerve impulses, even basic cellular metabolism! One of the most important (as far as your muscles are concerned) is potassium -- [although calcium, magnesium, and sodium are all equally important but just dont get the same amt of press]. Low potassium levels mean special ion channels in your muscle cells cannot function properly, and that leads to a sensation of "exhaustion", much like you just finished a marathon. Without potassium (and other molecules such as ATP) your muscles just can't function! If you have the flu and you'd like to beat the muscle ache, chow on some high potassium-sodium ratio foods such as avocados or dark green veggies (think spinach); [bananas are merely ok regarding this K/NA ratio, much more important than is absolute amount of potassium alone]. Gatorade or other (preferrably lower in sugar) sports drinks can help both replenish lost electrolytes (like potassium!) AND water, a great two-fer when you're socked in with this bug (watch the sugar level or you'll end up low on potassium again, if you get my drift!).

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Workplace Health and Safety
Cold and Flu

How sick is too sick to go to work or school?

This is often a really tricky call to make. You don’t want to miss important information or let work pile up in your absence, but you also don’t want to get others sick.

However, when a fever is involved, the choice is simple: Stay home. You should wait at least 24 hours after the fever’s gone before returning to the outside world. This can be especially helpful in preventing the spread of seasonal flu.

Other symptoms tend to have more wiggle room, and the choice often ends up being a complicated dance of trying to balance how important it is to be there, how contagious you are, how flexible your work or school is, and how much your symptoms would impact your quality of work.

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Cold and Flu
Strep Throat

How do you get rid of a sore throat?

If you have a sore throat, you should get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You should consider visiting a doctor, especially if your sore throat worsens, has spots, or continues for days. A humidifier or cold vaporizer can help as well to make the air more moist and soothing.

One of the better home remedies for a sore throat is a salt water gargle. It is very soothing. Be sure that a child is old enough to know how to properly gargle before using this. It should not be swallowed. Try this for the gargle:

1 teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle the solution and then spit it out. Warm water (but not hot) is more soothing. Do this a couple of times a day.

There are many over the counter products for sore throats, too. Ask the pharmacist at your drug store for recommendations of the best products available for your specific symptoms.

The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus usually resolves on its own with symptomatic care. A bacterial infection is less commonly the cause, but if it is due to bacteria, you will need to see a doctor to determine if you need antibiotics.

According to Otolaryngologists, some indications in adults that you need to see a physician with a sore throat are:

  • A very severe sore throat
  • A sore throat that lasts longer than a week
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Earache
  • Rash
  • Fever over 101 F
  • Blood in saliva or sputum (phlegm)
  • Recurrent sore throats
  • Lumps in your neck
  • Being hoarse for more than two weeks

In children, if the sore throat is not gone by the next day, contact your pediatrician for advice. Also get urgent medical care if children have any of the following with the sore throat:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling (can indicate an inability to swallow)

Other helpful suggestions from friendus.com contributors:

  • Bradosol Lozenge's are very good for relieving sore throats.
  • Difflam Spray used for discomfort in the mouth and throat is also very good.
  • If your sore throat condition gets worse speak to a pharmacist or your doctor for some advice.
  • Take Advil and drink really cold Mountain Dew. The Advil alone does work a little but something cold also brings down inflammation.
  • Honey and lemon... Can use concentrated lemon juice from supermarket.... Even better with whiskey in it
  • Take a zinc supplement and 'gargle' warm salt water.
  • I also enjoy drinking hot green tea mixed with honey.
  • Use chamomile tea with cinnamon, eat licorice, eat ice cream or squeeze lemons and drink the sour juice, seriously.
  • Warm salt water gargling and B complex vitamins will help. It may be necessary to give an antibiotic.
  • Tylenol or throat sore medicine.
  • Since sore throats are sometimes caused by bacterial infections, and because it can cause a mucus film to build up on the throat, you can gargle with warm salt water. This will help in two ways: 1. Salt has natural antibacterial properties, which can help clear the infection. 2. By gargling with warm salt water, it will help rid the throat of the mucus film lining the throat, and help promote faster healing and give temporary pain relief.
  • If it's a post nasal drip sore throat the best thing to do is drink a lot of ice water to clear the excess mucous out.
  • If it's itchy it might be allergies so you could use Benadryl. If it lasts a long time or you have spots on your throat you should contact a doctor. Also, throat lozenges or cough drops help a lot.
  • Try a raw clove of garlic or raw ginger. They act like antibiotics and can clear up most sore throats. Make sure you eat something first and have something on hand to wash it down.
  • Honey and lemon... Can use concentrated lemon juice from the supermarket instead of squeezed lemon.... Even better with whisky in it
  • You can drink pickle juice or eat a few pickles.
  • If it's a post nasal drip sore throat the best thing to do is drink a lot of ice water to clear the excess mucus out. If it's itchy it might be allergies so you could use Benadryl. If it lasts a long time or you have spots on your throat you should contact a doctor. Also, throat lozenges or cough drops help a lot.
  • If the sore throat is that sore, you may have a bacterial infection, like strep throat, that needs antibiotic treatment. If is is not better after several days, if you see white spots on the back of your throat or swollen tonsils, and/or a high fever, you should get an examination by a health care professional.
  • Ask your pharmacist to help you choose the best over the counter sore throat relief medicine if the warm salt water gargles do not help. Drink plenty of liquids and check your temperature often. Also rest your throat. That would mean, less talking/singing, etc.
  • Whenever I get a sore throat, my dad makes me drink lemon juice, steam my face, eat oranges, drink tea, and gargle with salt water. I went to the doctor a month ago for a sore throat and he told me that I should keep eating lemons, gargling with salt water, and drinking non-caffeinated tea. Of course, I'm sure this depends on your exact symptoms. So, if these don't work, ask your doctor for more solid advice.
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John Quincy Adams
Cold and Flu
Strep Throat

What is Quincy throat?

Quinsy is an abscess between the back of the tonsil and the wall of the throat. It's also known as a peritonsillar abscess. It happens when infection spreads from a swollen tonsil to the area around it, usually during a severe case of tonsillitis. The symptoms of quinsy are similar to tonsillitis and include: * a worsening sore throat, usually on one side, * fever, * difficulty opening the mouth * difficulty swallowing * drooling rather than swallowing your own saliva and * swelling of the face and neck. Quinsy is now rare because most people get effective treatment for tonsillitis early enough to prevent it. Quincy may be suspected if you have a sore throat that gets a lot worse very quickly, or tonsillitis with more severe symptoms than normal. Quinsy is treated in hospital. The abscess that has formed has to be aspirated (the pus is sucked out) and antibiotics may be needed to prevent the infection spreading. An operation to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be recommended a few months after quinsy.

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Cold and Flu
Demographics
Death Rate

How many people die annually from flu?

It is estimated that 36,000 people die each year, in the US alone, from seasonal flu.

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Cold and Flu
Infectious Diseases
Swine Flu (H1N1/09)

Can you catch the same flu twice?

If you are exposed to an identical version of the flu that you had previously after you have recovered fully from it the first time, then your body should have developed immunity to all genetically identical kinds of flu and you would not get it a second time. However, the flu can change by mutations and if it does change enough that the immune system no longer sees it as identical, then you would not have immunity to the mutated strain. This is a similar concept to why we need different seasonal flu vaccine every year and why there are no vaccines for the common cold.

You can get the flu twice in one season, but it would not be the same flu virus.

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Cold and Flu
Symptoms
Sinus Infections

What does it mean when you see blood while blowing your nose?

that your having a nose bleed.

if you get one:

hold a Kleenex up to your nose, while pinching the uppermost portion of you nose , and holding you head down.
If you are not bleeding a lot, it can be from cold air, dry heat in the house. I live in British Columbia where we can have rain and damp, then have freezing weather and the next day it's warm. Even the furnace being on in the house is drying. Look at your skin and if it looks dry, you bet your nose is dry. Even air conditioning can do it to you. You can use a little KY Jelly or vasoline inside your noise to keep it moist. As long as you are not bleeding profusely then there is nothing to worry about. If you've been blowing your nose often you've probably just given yourself a nosebleed by rupturing the blood vessels at the back of your nose. It's no big deal. It heals on its own. There are nose drops specially suited for this condition. Also saline nose spray can help. Try drinking more water and blowing your nose less. Everytime you blow your nose, you can be breaking up your clots. Give your nose time to heal, about a week. == ==

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Cold and Flu
Swine Flu (H1N1/09)
Tamiflu

How long are you contagious after taking Tamiflu?

Tamiflu is an antiviral medicine and is mostly used to help you get better once you have already caught the flu. It shortens the duration of the symptoms and makes them less severe when taken within 48 hours of your first symptoms. So, the criteria for when you can consider yourself no longer contagious is the same with or without Tamiflu. But the length of time can vary from individual to individual. According to the CDC, you can consider yourself no longer contagious after 24 straight hours from your last fever (when not taking fever reducers). That will likely be sooner for someone taking tamiflu than it is for someone who is not.

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Cold and Flu

How do you treat a cold?

You know the drill:

Drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, you've heard it a million times, but it does help. There is no cure for, or vaccine to prevent, a common cold, which is caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help a cold since they are for only bacterial infections. Fluids are needed to help loosen secretions, support your immune and lymphatic systems, and to prevent dehydration. Rest gives your immune system energy resources to fight the invader and make you well. Eat a healthy diet for the same reasons. Supportive care with treatment of the individual symptoms is all that is currently available for treating the common cold with home remedies and over the counter medicines and preparations. You usually can not get rid of a cold fast, the viral infection must be fought off by your immune system, which takes time, typically around a week to ten days.

Treating individual symptoms:

You can make yourself less miserable while your body is fighting it by treating the symptoms that are making you feel so bad. Use over the counter treatments or home remedies for symptoms, such as: fever reducing medicine (not aspirin for anyone under 18, though, due to risk of Reye's Syndrome), cough medicine and expectorants (guaifenesin as a main ingredient will help loosen congestion), analgesics (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.) for aches and pains, lozenges or sprays for sore throats, lip balm for dry lips, soothing eye drops for red itching eyes, saline nasal spray to cleanse your nasal passages and/or a Netti Pot for sinus discomfort and stuffiness, petroleum jelly or lotion for a red sore nose. Antihistamines can help the runny or stuffy nose as well as any watery eyes, clogged ears/Eustachian tubes, and sinus congestion.

Fever can be good:

Usually a cold does not cause a high fever like the flu does, but it does cause a low grade fever in most cases. This is part of the body's ammunition against pathogens, since many types have a narrow window of acceptable temperature range and raising your body temperature slightly can inactivate some virus particles. Unless you have a fever over 102, it is best to avoid fever reducer medicines if you can, so that this mechanism can work against the cold virus.

However, any amount of fever in infants should always be reported to their pediatrician to determine if fever reducing medicine is needed and what other tests and treatments the infant may need. Slight variations in body temperature make a much bigger difference in the small bodies of infants and they have an immature immune system that can not protect them like that of adults.

Sore nose, aches and pains:

Use facial tissues for your nose that have lotion in them if your nose gets sore and red, and/or apply petroleum jelly to keep the irritated area dry and protected. Soak in the tub or take showers to help achy muscles, clear off the toxins from your skin that are released in your sweat, help you relax and rest, and to provide soothing humidity to your body's mucous tissues and respiratory passages.

Healthy diet:

Eat a well balanced nourishing diet for your body to have energy and nutrients it needs for healing, including protein. Include as many vegetables and fresh fruit as possible. Eat lots of chicken soup, this traditional Old World/Jewish remedy has been scientifically tested and it does help people recover faster from colds. Home made chicken soup is best (because it contains some love), but you can get good chicken stock in special boxes in the soup aisle at the grocery that is very good. As a last resort, use canned chicken soups or broths (some are available in low sodium recipes). Do not use instant bouillon, it will not be as effective, and it contains way too much salt (an occasional cup, if you are allowed that amount of sodium in your diet will give some relief just from drinking something hot, but herbal teas will do the same thing and have no salt).

Herbs, etc:

Try mint or oregano tea or good quality pure oregano oil. Put a few drops of oregano oil in a capsule (fill remainder with olive oil) and swallow with juice or water. Shark oil capsules are also good. Basil leaves have been proved to have antioxidants that fight cold-like symptoms, too.

Drink warm liquids:

Sip warm liquids of any kind to add fluids, soothe throats, and moisturize dry and irritated mucous membranes. Here is one old Russian recipe for Lemon Drink for colds: Bring water to a near boil (or boil it and then let it sit for a few minutes to cool slightly). It is very important that it is not boiling when you put your lemon in, that makes the lemon less effective for some reason (some say that it kills the enzymes in the lemon, but that may or may not be the reason, just don't put the lemon in while the water is boiling). Juice a few fresh lemons and put the juice in the hot, but not boiling, water. Add some honey which will help soothe your throat and give you other healthy ingredients for your immune system and add good flavor. Do not use sugar, use the honey. This drink is very good, so enjoy it, but it is powerful and works like medicine to flush out the cold in a few days, if you drink it at least four times a day. It is a great source of Vitamin C. Often recipes suggest adding some lemon zest, too, to boost the flavor and enhance the efficacy.

Some people add an ounce of whiskey to the lemon drink. It is a major ingredient in most cough medicines (acts as a cough suppressant) and will help a cough and help you rest, just do not use more than an ounce at a time or it can add to dehydration and cause more harm than good. Or others will try the very generous application of an Apricot Brandy Hot Toddy which will also help them get plenty of bed rest.

Sore throat:

Gargle warm salt water for a sore throat. See also many other suggestions to help sore throats in the related question below.

Supplements, vitamin C and zinc:

Vitamin C Supplements may help, and studies have shown that Zinc lozenges can be effective if used early in the viral infection to prevent as many infected cells and give your immune system an advantage over the virus. Zinc supplements seem to be less effective than lozenges, the direct contact with the mucous tissue on and near the infected cells seems to be important to efficacy.

Prevent further spread of the virus:

Remember to avoid passing your cold on to others. Stay home, wash your hands, throw away tissues used for coughs and sneezes and keep your germs to yourself. See the related question below for how to protect others from catching your cold.

Positive thinking:

If you get cranky and have a bad attitude you are going to make yourself think it is really worse than it is and turn off folks who might otherwise want to do things to help you. A positive attitude helps our bodies heal and stay healthy. Try watching funny, happy and uplifting movies while you can't do anything else. Cuddle up with the stuff that makes you feel good, like a stuffed animal, warm PJs and blankets (warm them by putting in the clothes dryer for a few minutes before using them), create pleasant aromas, candle light, and soft music. Remind yourself how it could always be worse. A little "switch" in your brain might click, making it the best cold you've ever had and making you feel a little better.

Onions?

There are some people who say the following works. It may be only placebo effect (which is better than no effect at all!), but you might try to see if this does anything for you: Cut a room temperature fresh onion in half and put it in a bowl near your bed while you sleep. Anecdotal reports say this can get rid of the cold over night. If it works for you, keep doing it, since it can't hurt. It could merely be that the tears that the onion may cause helps to wash away irritants from your eyes, clear the nasal passages, etc. from the inside out. Use of this at night may help along with eye wash/drops, nasal saline wash, nose drops, drinking lots of fluids, and showering or bathing for soothing humidity in the daytime.

Some people report they believe this works because, when you cut an onion, you break open onion cells and that allows the release of amino acid sulfoxides that form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate inside the onion can mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide. This is a sulfur compound and is what gets in your eyes to react with your tears to form sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to create tears in an attempt to wash away the irritating compounds.

MoreThe viruses that cause the common cold mutate often and rapidly and spread easily. Too quickly for us to prepare a vaccine before they change again. There is a large pool of viruses that can cause the common cold and each of them is undergoing mutation at any given time.

This means that every cold that you get in your life time is different. They are each caused by a unique virus, and once you've had one variety you will never get that variety again. Although you can (and we all do) catch the next generation of mutations. Even though a cold is very common, it is certainly not simple. That is why scientists have not yet found a cure for the common cold.

However, they are currently working on a cure that is promising. They believe that cold viruses can be "attacked" from a different direction. The viral antigens can be neutralized as they currently are ~ by antibodies attaching to the antigen coat. A different approach has been conceived and is under trials. The new attack is a move from the coat to the stem of the virus, then it doesn't matter how much or how fast the coat changes during mutations.

Humorous answerA remedy for the common cold suggested by Dr. Richard Gordon, from the "Atlantic Monthly":

At the first sign of a cold, go to bed with a bottle of whiskey and a hat. Place the hat on the left-hand bedpost. Take a drink of whiskey and move the hat to the right-hand bedpost. Take another drink and shift the hat back again. Continue this until you drink the whiskey but fail to move the hat.

By then, the cold is probably cured.
common cold is mainly due to viruses.

symptomatic treatment and take rest.

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Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Swine Flu (H1N1/09)

What is the current situation with the H1N1-09 Pandemic Swine Flu?

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Cold and Flu
Drug Interactions
Vaccinations

Can you get the flu shot while taking Flagyl?

There is no drug interaction problem between the flu vaccine and Flagyl. But whether you get the vaccination while still taking the antibiotic may depend on why you are taking antibiotics. If you have a current infection, it is usually better to wait until that is cleared up before taking vaccines. But, each situation can be different, and this is a question that the doctor who prescribed the antibiotics should be asked to know what is right in your case.

Unless there is a specific reason your doctor wants you to wait, usually the only reason not to get a flu shot while taking antibiotics would be if you have an active infection with a high fever over 101 F. Get your flu shot unless you have a high fever, or the doctor recommends delaying the immunization due to your specific condition.

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Cold and Flu

How are colds and flu spread?

They are both spread the way many common viruses are spread, especially those affecting the upper respiratory system like colds and flu. For specifics:

Spread of the common cold:

You are most likely to get a cold if someone sneezes or coughs over you or near you. To avoid the spread this way, you need to stay at least a 6 foot diameter distance from the person. Cold viruses are in the air on respiratory droplets for a short time after a cough or sneeze. Although they can travel in the air for only a matter of seconds and for only about a six foot diameter around the person who coughed or sneezed before they drop out of the air onto surrounding surfaces, that is still one of the most common ways to catch a cold. So, being in a crowded public area where you can not stay at least six feet away from others is one of the most likely ways to catch a cold, besides direct contact with the person who has a cold (shaking hands, touching their skin, sharing eating utensils or kissing) or contact with things they have just contaminated.

You can also catch a cold from someone else by touching their mucous membranes or picking up respiratory droplets on your hands that have been ejected with a cough or sneeze and then touching your own nose, eyes or mouth, even hours later. Keep your hands washed frequently and avoid touching your face, especially the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth, and you will likely stay cold-free.

More detail:

You can also pick up viruses by touching somewhere a sneeze or cough has touched, e.g., a sick person's hands or used tissues or a nearby counter top or phone. Colds are spread when the viruses enter the body through mucous membranes, typically of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Any transfer of body fluids between an infected person and a healthy person (e.g. a sneeze, a kiss, a shared beverage) can spread a cold. Also, a person with a cold can contaminate a surface such as a table, phone or doorknob with her hands. If a healthy person touches that contaminated doorknob and then rubs her eyes or nose or eats with her hands, she can get the cold. For this reason, regular and thorough hand washing is recommended especially during cold and flu seasons, see the related question below on how to properly wash your hands to remove germs.

You can spread a cold by going to school or work or out in public when sick. It is best to stay home and rest to get well, rather than take the virus in public and make others sick, too.

Spread of the flu:

It goes from person to person through close contact and direct touch, indirect touch, or respiratory droplets in the air carrying the virus short distances from person to person or from person to environmental surfaces through coughs and sneezes. If you touch where a person with flu touches, you will most likely pick up the virus and get the flu, too. That is how it spreads indirectly. Stay a minimum of six feet away from someone with a known infection and avoid close contact from being in crowded places.

You get direct spreading when you have skin to skin contact or direct person to person contact with an infected individual, such as shaking hands, kissing, or caring for a child or other infected person with hands-on care. You could be infected by getting too close to someone who has it. Do not hug people who have the flu. Wait for them to recover, then hug them (a lot).

Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils with someone, this can also spread the disease. There is some evidence to suggest that it can be spread through gastrointestinal means, such as saliva, emesis (vomit), and feces (stool).

The importance of hand washing before and after eating, using the restroom, or providing personal care to an infected individual can not be over stressed. Avoid putting your hands in your mouth and nose or rubbing your eyes before washing your hands. Teach your family proper hand washing technique. (See related question for this information).

Flu viruses enter the body through the mucous membranes - the eyes, the nose or the mouth. They go from person to person through close contact and direct touch, indirect touch, or respiratory droplets containing the virus being ejected through coughs and sneezes from person to person or from person to environmental surfaces.

If you touch where a person with flu touches, you will most likely pick up the virus and get the flu. That is how it spreads indirectly. Stay a minimum of six feet away from someone with a known infection, avoid close contact from crowded places. The six foot guideline is based on how far respiratory droplets can go before falling to the floor or other surfaces. They do not actually float in the air to be an airborne pathogen. The respiratory droplets that carry the virus particles come from a sneeze or cough of an infected person.

Flu viruses can also be spread by handling money soon after an infected person touched it.

Flu is not spread through swimming in chlorinated pools, or by being in the water at recreational water parks that regularly treat the water. It is not spread in fountains that use purified water or in spas. There is some risk of catching it at beaches, or at recreational water theme parks from people among the crowds and not in the treated water, just as in any other crowded public place.

Protect yourself and others by getting your flu vaccination, it is the most important and most effective way to stay well and to avoid spreading the flu to your family, coworkers, and in public. Flu vaccines, as currently made, have been proven to be safe and effective over decades of use.

Another very important method of prevention is proper and frequent hand washing and regular hygiene. To help prevent the flu, wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. When you have the virus on your hands and touch the tissues in those places, that is how the virus enters your body.

How Long Can You Spread It When Infected?

There are still studies in progress to determine the best answer to this question. A commonly accepted guideline stipulates that one should be suspected to be capable of still spreading the flu until 24 hours after the fever subsides [while taking no fever reducers]. This is the guideline suggested by the CDC and WHO.

Testing of swine flu in one study using a very sensitive test to detect virus in the nose or throat found that 80 percent had it five days after symptoms began, and 40 percent seven days after. Some still harbored virus as long as 16 days later. How soon they started on antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu made a difference in how much virus was found, but not whether virus was present at all. For best results Tamiflu and other antiviral medicines should be started within 40 hours of the first symptoms, according to the most recent findings.

Doctors know that people can spread ordinary seasonal flu for a couple of days before and after symptoms start by studying viruses that patients shed in mucus. The first such studies of swine flu imply a longer contagious period.

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Answer
Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Swine Flu (H1N1/09)
The Difference Between
Viruses (biological)

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

They are caused by different viruses and have slightly different symptoms.

See related question below for the symptoms of the A-H1N1/09 "Swine Flu".

The symptoms of the cold and flu can be hard to differentiate, sometimes not even possible without a specific laboratory test to determine which virus is causing your symptoms. See the related link below for more information on this from US Flu website, Flu.gov.

The primary differences are:

  • The flu usually causes a high fever and a cold doesn't cause a fever except in rare circumstance.
  • General aches and pains with the flu are usually present and can be severe, with a cold they are mild.
  • You may feel very fatigued from the flu and this is unusual with a cold.
  • Headaches are much more common with the flu.
  • The usual cold symptoms of stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat are only sometimes seen with the flu.
  • A severe cough comes with the flu but is not as severe with a cold.

Colds typically begin with a sore throat. Sometimes a mild fever, cough, and/or a stuffy nose are present. It is important to note the difference between a cold and an allergy because of the different treatments associated with each. Cold symptoms can usually be controlled through the use of a decongestant and anti-inflammatory medicine (e.g. Ibuprofen). Fever is not as common in colds as in the flu. Those with colds almost always have fevers under 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a few basic kinds of flu viruses but hundreds of cold viruses. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations, whereas this is possible with an infection with a flu virus.

FLU

LIKELY (>50% chance of these symptoms)

  • fever 102 deg. F (39 deg. C) or higher (can reach up to 107 deg. F (42 deg. C) in extreme cases)
  • dry hacking cough
  • severe runny nose
  • stuffiness
  • chills (happen during fevers when body adjusts thermostat to raise it's set point)
  • headache

POSSIBLE (30-50% chance)

  • sore throat

RARE (< 30% chance)

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

COLD

LIKELY (>50% chance)

  • runny nose
  • stuffiness
  • coughing frequently

POSSIBLE (30-50% chance)

  • fever 99 deg. F to 101 deg. F (37.2 deg C to 38.3 deg C.)
  • chills
  • sore throat

RARE (<30% chance)

  • gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting

The 'flu - an abbreviation for "influenza" - is a viral infection of the respiratory passages causing fever, severe aching, and catarrh, and often occurring in epidemics.

A cold, on the other hand, a common viral infection in which the mucous membrane of the nose and throat becomes inflamed.
Influenza (the flu) is usually a more severe illness than the common cold, which is caused by other respiratory viruses. The 'flu typically showcases symptoms including headaches, chills and cough followed rapidly by a fever, appetite loss, muscle aches and tiredness. Cold symptoms are limited to the upper respiratory tract with runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and throat irritation.

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Answer
Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Infectious Diseases

How is the common cold spread?

You are most likely to get a cold if someone sneezes or coughs over you or near you. To avoid the spread this way, you need to stay at least a 6 foot diameter distance from the person. Cold viruses are in the air on respiratory droplets for a short time after a cough or sneeze. Although they can travel in the air for only a matter of seconds and for only about a six foot diameter around the person who coughed or sneezed before they drop out of the air onto surrounding surfaces, that is still one of the most common ways to catch a cold.

So, being in a crowded public area where you can not stay at least six feet away from others is one of the most likely ways to catch a cold, besides direct contact with the person who has a cold (shaking hands, touching their skin, sharing eating utensils or kissing) or contact with things they have just contaminated.

You can also catch a cold from someone else by touching their mucous membranes or picking up respiratory droplets on your hands that have been ejected with a cough or sneeze and then touching your own nose, eyes or mouth, even hours later. Keep your hands washed frequently and avoid touching your face, especially the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth, and you will more likely stay cold-free.

More detail:

You can also pick up viruses by touching somewhere a sneeze or cough has touched, e.g., a sick person's hands or used tissues or a nearby counter top or phone. Colds are spread when the viruses enter the body through mucous membranes, typically of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Any transfer of body fluids between an infected person and a healthy person (e.g. a sneeze, a kiss, a shared beverage) can spread a cold. Also, a person with a cold can contaminate a surface such as a table, phone or doorknob with her hands. If a healthy person touches that contaminated doorknob and then rubs her eyes or nose or eats with her hands, she can get the cold. For this reason, regular and thorough hand washing is recommended especially during cold and flu seasons, see the related question below on how to properly wash your hands to remove germs.

You can spread a cold by going to school or work or out in public when sick. It is best to stay home and rest to get well, rather than take the virus in public and make others sick, too.

For even more detail, see the related questions below.

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Answer
Pregnancy Symptoms
Cold and Flu
Symptoms

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Some symptoms of the flu are elevated fever, continual cough, fatigue, vomiting, chills/sweating. these may be symptoms of other diseases or viruses but they are common in the flu and the cold.

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Cold and Flu

How long after being exposed to the flu can you get sick?

Symptoms of the flu usually develop suddenly, about three days after being exposed to the virus. They include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and soreness and aching in the back, arms and legs

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Answer
Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Oral Health and Dental Care
Infectious Diseases

Why does your teeth hurt when you have a common cold?

The very tips of the roots of your top teeth sit very close to and sometimes in your sinus cavity. When you have a cold and your sinuses are blocked and inflammed it put pressure on the teeth which can be very sore. It does not cause any long term damage to the teeth but it can feel just like a tooth ache.

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Answer
Cold and Flu

Who did the Spanish flu affect?

It was a pandemic, so it affected the entire world and all age groups, including the young and healthy. Because it hit during World War 1, many soldiers were sick with the disease and also helped to spread it around the world, as they came and went from home and battlefield.

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Answer
Cold and Flu
Famous Quotations
Fevers

Should you feed a fever or starve a cold?

First, this is an idiom that is no longer considered good medicine. It comes from a culture from long ago before we understood pathogens, disease, and our immune systems.

When you are ill with a cold, other upper respiratory infection, and/or fever, eat sensibly when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. Drink plenty of liquids. Rest in bed. You can treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medicines. Ask your pharmacist for product recommendations for your specific symptoms. See more in the related question for how to treat a cold.

Don't rely on this old saying as medical advice.

About the origin of this common traditional saying:

The phrase is from Chaucer in "The Canterbury Tales." In Middle English, the phrase was "Fede a cold and starb ob feber" translated as "feed a cold and DIE of fever." It wasn't medical advice, it was a cautionary statement: If you eat when you're sick, you'll die of fever.

Because so many people didn't eat when they were sick and they died, "starb" became "starve" and the definition was changed from just "die" to "die from lack of food." Considering that people at that time believed bathing caused illness (hence the wearing of perfumed pomanders to hold at your nose to ward of the stench of the person you were talking to), and that they believed many myths about health, such as that Jews were the cause of the Black Plague, and that drinking your urine could cure the plague. Even if they meant it as medical advice, it's not something we should be taking seriously today!

There are other stories about the original phrasing and origin of the idiom that have been handed down over the generations, here are some of those provided by friendus.com contributors:

  • The adage is "Starve a fever, feed a cold." It was based on beliefs that don't hold true in today's medical knowlege. Some of those beliefs that led to the idiom were that fighting the flu took a lot of metabolic activity, and that digestion is a demanding task. They reasoned that as a fever is usually short lived (1-3 days), not eating may be a better way of allowing your body to contribute the maximum amount of metabolic activity to recovery. But, if the fever lasted longer, then maintaining adequate available energy to support the immune system may become a problem if not eating your normal amounts and quality of foods. Doctors who practice "Natural" medicine, and many allopathic doctors, too, continue to recommend diluted vegetable juice (preferred) or fruit juice (unsweetened) for energy during an illness. (This is not suggested for a long term or normal diet.)
  • The original phrase, back before it was misquoted, was - "Feed a cold, STAVE a fever" - as in "stave off" or "keep away" a fever.
  • I'll preface this by saying I am a licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncture physician. Feed a cold: As others have pointed out the common cold tends to last 7-10 days. It is hard/and or dangerous to fast for that long. Avoid sugars/starches, since eating mainly simple carbohydrates like breads, potatoes, and sugars can result in nutritional deficiencies and over production of insulin that is difficult for your body to deal with, especially if you have a concurrent cold. But, do eat healthy nutritional foods from all food groups if you can.

    Starve a fever: Digestion does take a lot of energy. As the temperature increases, metabolism can become less efficient. You may feel bloated if you eat too much at a time. As for keeping your temperature up when you are sick: that is correct, to a point. Your body increases its temperature to fight infection by creating a hostile environment for the pathogens. You can help your immune system do its normal job by not taking medicines that lower the temperature too soon or too often. In an otherwise healthy adult, short bouts of 102-103 degrees F. are acceptable, but if the fever increases or lasts more than a day at that temp, it should be addressed with contact with your health care provider. Depending on the age of a child, it may or may not be a good to let the temperature rise that high and you should consult the pediatrician for advice about fevers in children the age of yours. In all cases the person must keep well hydrated and temperatures checked frequently, because fever is only a part of what is happening.

  • Actually, a fever is one of the ways your body fights an infection. The reason you get a fever is because your body is trying to render the biological processes inside the infectious bacteria useless. The proteins inside the bacteria only function within certain temperature ranges, i.e., the normal human body temperature range of 97.5 degrees to 99.5 degrees. When the temperature rises beyond this, the proteins lose their ability to function; they've been denatured. Without these proteins working properly, or at all, the bacteria either dies or is severely weakened enough for your immune system to easily finish it off.
  • Unless the fever lasts longer than a week, or isn't too high (higher than 103 degrees in adults can become dangerous), you shouldn't try to lower your body temperature. Your doctor will tell you if that's necessary. Otherwise just bundle up and insulate yourself so that your body can keep up the higher temperature without having to expend a lot of energy. Eat healthy foods and don't physically stress your body too much.
  • Eating doesn't really matter. Just drink lots of fluids.
  • As I have always understood, this adage applies to temperature. "Feed a fever" means bundle up and sweat it out. "Starve a cold" means bundle up and warm up. (This is not the current understanding, we now know that being cold does not cause or exacerbate a cold.)
  • It would seem that both are wrong. Most doctors will tell you that it is important to reduce stresses on your body when sick. Both starving and overeating produce unwanted stress. So, unless you have a stomach disorder, eat moderately to maintain your strength in either case. The saying is not intended to be current medical advice.
  • (From Cecil Adam's "Straight Dope") Your version of the proverb is the traditional one, but you can find citations in the literature that have it the other way around. The idea, if not the exact wording, dates back to 1574, when a dictionary maker named Withals wrote, "Fasting is a great remedie of feuer."
  • Doctors have been trying to stamp out the above piece of folklore for years. Current medical thinking is that you want to keep an even strain when you're sick with either a cold or a fever, and you certainly don't want to stress your system by stuffing or starving yourself.
  • Nobody's sure where the notion of feeding colds and so on arose. (It surely didn't originate with Withals.) One somewhat dubious explanation has it that the proverb really means "If you feed a cold now, you'll have to starve a fever later." A more plausible interpretation is that the feed-a-cold idea arose out of a folk understanding of the disease process, namely that there were two kinds of illnesses, those caused by low temperatures (colds and chills) and those caused by high temperatures (fever). If you had a chill, you wanted to stoke the interior fires, so you pigged. If you had a fever, you didn't want things to overheat, so you slacked off on the fuel.
  • When I had sniffles as a kid the feed-a-cold thing was usually good for a few extra Twinkies. So you'll just have to forgive me if, in the delirium of a 99-degree temperature, I used to imagine it was feed a fever too.
  • The way it was explained to me was that if you have a cold you usually didn't want to or couldn't eat and needed to, so you "fed" a cold, basically not binging, but simply remembering to eat. However, if you have a fever, you may crave a lot more food, and may need to back off and need more moderation, so you would need to "starve" a fever so as not to make yourself more sick - keep those hunger pangs in check. And that came from a very, very wise old wife, so it must be true!
  • The point is when you have fever your body is working to fight something in your system. You should eat light since the body needs energy to digest and it is better to let the body focus on the "fight at hand" and just eat light until the fever breaks. With a cold, your immune system is involved for up to 10 days, and you need to keep those guys fueled (antibody production). So you eat things that encourage their production, such as vitamin C-rich foods and fruit, and soups, and teas, because they add needed fluid, and because warm fluid helps to thin the mucous associated with colds.
  • Your body needs energy to fight whatever viral or bacterial infection it has to, so "starving" is not a good idea. Though your body initially uses energy to digest, the digestion process returns more energy than it uses. If you feel cold at night, get up and eat a piece of cheese or some nuts (the oils and proteins will slowly fuel your body and keep you warm while you sleep). Most importantly, stay hydrated and take no fluids that are diuretics (like caffeine in soft drinks, coffee and tea, beer and other alcohol)!
  • The way I remember it is feed a cold but starve a flu ("stomach flu"). Gastrointestinal infections cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and your digestive tract needs rest with consumption of plenty of fluids. You need energy to get over a cold, so eat soup, hot foods, and cold liquids.
  • I've always found that if you freeze a fever and heat a cold, as in very warm or cool showers, it works out pretty well. If I'm sick with a cold I'll stand in a hot shower and take in the steam. It really clears the the nasal cavity. And as for fevers, a lukewarm bath always helps me.
  • Regardless of medical reasons, the adage "Feed a cold and starve a fever" was lexically designed to help remember the proposed eating pattern for each sickness...d in feed-cold and v in starve-fever.
  • I agree with the furnace analogy and if you want to test this, try this: After a meal (2-3 hours) get a sugar-filled cookie of your choice (probably most anything with simple sugar will work), locate yourself in a comfortable room and in a relaxed position, take your temperature with a digital thermometer, and also just feel (sense) what your body and temperature are like. Now eat that sugar-filled cookie. You should begin to feel your temperature rise within the first few minutes; you might even break a slight sweat. Measure your temperature each minute for the next 10 minutes... I think you will find that your body quickly goes to work converting this cookie into energy and that process slightly raises your temperature... if not measurable at least in some part you may sense the rise. Now it just seems logical that at a time that we are trying to reduce our temperature taking cold showers and baths, and medications that reduce fever... stoking the body's furnace with simple sugars is not very smart. I go with starve a fever. Of course I do not mean to not eat at all, but understanding the concept you might better choose what you eat to minimize the effect.
  • For the record, high glucose (sugar) intake could not possibly raise your temperature in 10 minutes for two reasons, 1) your body temperature does not flux based on what foods you eat, and 2) It takes about 30 minutes for your body to begin effectively absorbing anything taken by mouth, this includes meds and food. And your immune system works at its own pace, you can assist it slightly by working with your body, but getting yourself "close to heat stroke" and putting hydrogen peroxide in your ears cannot make your immune system work 10 times faster, the only thing it is likely to do is make you very uncomfortable and annoy any stray harmless bacteria in your ears.
  • "Feed a cold, starve a fever" is right on if you are an active fighter, but dead wrong if you are a passive waiter. With a cold, if you are a fighter, eat all of those favorite foods that make your mouth water when you think of them. You need lots of fuel for the fight. The bugs can't handle the fever temperature. [The following advice is controversial today, suddenly changing anything else while you are ill is usually not good medical advice:]

    So, stop eating suddenly, forcing the body to switch to using stored fat. That is very potent fuel! When the fever comes up, supplement it with a hot toddy (heated lemon juice, honey, medicinal brandy or rum), get into a hot bath. Get into bed and sweat. By morning the nasty 14 day head cold will be gone.

  • It must be pointed out that contributors to this answer are probably NOT doctors. Taking some of the advice given above may harm your health. If you are thinking of trying any of the less-orthodox ideas above, you should probably seek the advice of your doctor first.
  • When you have a fever your body uses certain strategies like altering your metabolism and binding iron to slow the pathogens down. That said, although I wrote this after the disclaimer, I'm not a doctor either :)
  • Admittedly, I'm not a doctor either, but I am a working nurse and some of these suggestions alarmed me. For minor illnesses you should maintain moderate intake. Gorging or starving yourself for several days will only put added stress on the body. The most common recommendations for oral intake with a fever is to take in plenty of fluids, eat when you're hungry, and try to keep as comfortable as possible. If it's a high-grade fever (above 102 or 103 in adults) you can take whichever NSAID (tylenol, motrin, alleve etc.) you prefer to bring the fever down, since high-grade fevers can be damaging to your own tissues. (Be sure that you do not take any OTC medicines differently than the package directions say. Many cold preparations contain Tylenol and other fever reducers so if you take more than one that does, you risk getting too much acetaminaphen which can be very dangerous and damaging to the liver. Children under 16 should not take aspirin due to the risk of Reyes' syndrome.)
  • Feed a cold and starve a fever. This was from the olden days of yore when we did not know much about medicine - when people contracted some bad fevers, they usually died with a few weeks. The general consensus at that time was to not waste good food on a person that was going to die. Of course this is no longer true today... Our knowledge of medicine is far greater and keeps improving almost every week.
  • This is definitely not a good idea in either case. You need more fluids than usual when you have the flu AND a cold. Drink plenty of water and juice, eat enough food to satisfy your appetite, and drink hot fluids to ease your cough and sore throat.
  • Neither, actually: It's "Feed a cold & STAVE a fever." - as in "stave away" or "stave off."
  • You should feed a cold to keep a fever away. If you have a fever you should feed that too, although you are unlikely to feel like eating.
  • Firstly, do NOT medicate to lower fevers unless medically necessary (and the target temperature for that in adults varies from source to source - I use 103-104 F as my range, but mostly gear it on how you feel. For infants and children the point at which fever becomes dangerous is dependent on their age and general health status, you should ask your pediatrician in advance what the maximum temperature of your infant or child should be and when to contact the provider for care). You will feel uncomfortable letting your temperature rise above normal, but the goal is not to suppress the body's ability to fight the invader (it was mentioned above about the body's heat). Whether to provide food to the body for a fever/flu can vary depending upon your life-style. If you are prone to eating unhealthy foods or are a regular-heavy drinker/drug user, your body is already lacking in many of the elements that are necessary to fight infection. Nonetheless, my studies have led me to believe that it is warranted to consume nutritional foods while with a fever. However, the best intake would be that of warm fluids such as vegetable (preferred) or fruit juice. I usually drink about 4oz. low-sodium, organic vegetable juice when I 'feel' the need - which tends to be about once per hour. Drink much water, particularly if you have diarrhea. Although typically mentioned, water consumption is so easily neglected, yet has profound effects on the body, both healthy and ill. The same applies to a cold. The bottom line is that providing heavy foods or unhealthy foods will tax your system unnecessarily while not yielding much in the way of nutrients. Eliminating toxins (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc.) and adding substantive [liquid] foods will aid your body in doing its job.
  • No, you should be getting proper nutrition and hydration all the time regardless if you are sick. When you starve a fever you are basically denying your body what it needs to get better.
  • I disagree with most of the information above. I was brought up to believe it's "starve a cold and feed a fever" which refers to medication when tackling an illness. There is no medication to cure the common cold, only to suppress it or make you more comfortabe while your immune system works, so it's best to let a normal common cold run its course without medication. However, in case of a fever, medication can be taken upon medical advice in order to lower the temperature. This is true and makes more since. It has nothing to do with food. Of course you should encourage food and liquid as much as tolerated in any case.
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Answer
Cold and Flu
Dieting and Weight Loss
Symptoms
Diarrhea

Is it bad to lose 6 lbs in one day when sick?

Yes, you should contact your doctor. It can depend on what you are sick with, but whatever it is, you should consult your primary health care professional. It can be very bad for some people and not good for others. It likely does represent a loss of a lot of water weight because fat does not burn away that quickly. You are probably either dehydrated or at risk of serious dehydration from that. Loss of fluids in that amount from your body could come from profuse sweating with fever, vomiting, diarrhea or overuse of diuretics.

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Answer
Conditions and Diseases
Cold and Flu
Microbiology
Viruses (biological)

What is the causative organism of seasonal influenza?

The human seasonal flu, as well as other types of human influenza, are caused by three types of viruses: influenza Types A, B, and C. Swine flu is caused by an influenza type A influenzavirus, for example. Type A flu viruses have been the causes of all influenza pandemics to date.

Within each type there are mutations and countless numbers of strains and subtypes. The influenza viruses are RNA viruses that come from the family Orthomyxoviridae.

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Cold and Flu
Vaccinations

Are you protected if expired flu vaccine was used?

Probably not. Each year the ingredients in the flu vaccine are different, because each year different strains of the influenza virus are going around. They have to make up a new vaccine each year, to be sure it contains all the right strains that will provide immunity for the kinds of flu that are circulating at that time. Since the vaccine for the seasonal flu for this year in the Northern Hemisphere has just been manufactured and released very recently, it would not seem possible for it to be already expired. If you use a vaccine from a prior year (the more likely scenario if the expiration date on the bottle has already passed), then you will not be fully protected against the strains of virus that will be causing flu this year and may be taking something that could be harmful in addition to providing no protection.

You should talk to those at the source of the vaccine to find out why the vaccine would be expired.

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Answer
Cold and Flu
Eyes
Pain
Fevers

Can fever cause eye pain?

Yes.. it's very normal to have eye pain with a fever/// Because of the blood flow diff. b/c of tempaturess =]

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Answer

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