I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a cold or the flu at least once in their lives. A common cold is one of the top reasons for children missing school. And the flu claims hundreds of lives every year.
There are many ways to prevent cold and flu but doctors recommend getting flu shots like it’s the only way to prevent it. Unfortunately, flu shots are never that effective in preventing the flu. Luckily, my family and I have avoided these dreaded infections for many years without getting the shots, thanks to our strong immune system and my preventive methods.
Until this year.
My first flu
I started getting sick with the flu right after Christmas, then, my daughter, and my mom, while on vacation. At first, I thought I just had a head cold. But it quickly became clear that I had the flu. How did I know? In general, flu symptoms are more severe and the duration is longer. I’m recovering from it very slowly (today makes 3 weeks and I heard from people that it can take up to 6 weeks to be completely better!) and my mom is still sick, staying mostly in bed. We stayed up nights together with feverish bodyaches, coughing. We were extremely tired that we couldn’t do a thing during the day. I never watched so many days of TV in my life! I discovered “Pitbulls and Parolees”, a show about a dog shelter in New Orleans that hires only parolees to help with mostly pitbull rescues. Check it out on Animal Planet. It warmed my heart! I digress.
What we felt were nothing compared to a little head cold but we got better with many of the natural immune boosting protocols, including my honey ginger lemon syrup, Asian Pear Cough Remedy, Ginger Honey Cough Drops, spicy soups, lots of spicy kimchi (hello, probiotics!), mega doses of Vitamin C and exotic teas my mom had.
So how can you tell whether you have a cold or the flu?
Here is the breakdown.
Difference between cold and flu
- Caused by the most common virus, Rhinovirus
- Sore Throat
- A watery runny nose with head congestion
- Clear mucus but may get dark and thick
- Coughing – productive
- Unlikely fever in adults & low grade fever in children
- Incubation Period – 1-3 days
- No vomiting or diarrhea
- No exhaustion
- If symptoms persist for >1 week, check for hay fever or allergies
- Caused by Influenza virus
- Chest Congestion
- Thick mucus production
- Coughing – dry or productive
- Fever >100ºF in adults for 3-4 days
- Incubation Period – 1-3 days
- May involve vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Extreme exhaustion, especially at the beginning but fatigue may linger for 2-3 weeks
- Symptoms may last for 4-6 weeks
A complication from a cold can lead to a sinus infection. But complication from the flu can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia, especially for elderly, young children or immuno-compromised patients. If you have problems breathing or heart palpitations, you have to go to the doctor immediately. You should also watch for a returning fever after being gone for a few days. That can indicate pneumonia.
We took my mom to an Urgent Care in fear that she may have a bronchitis or pneumonia but the attending doctor confirmed after a lab test that she only had the flu and fortunately, no bronchitis or pneumonia. And all he recommended was a plenty of rest, fluid, and Tylenol if needed. And boy, did we rest and rest and rested some more. We couldn’t DO anything due to fatigue. I didn’t feel that level of fatigue even after giving birth!
But now, we are much better with all the home remedies we used and so glad we didn’t end up in ER.
Have you ever had the flu? What natural remedies did you use to recover from it?