Difference between flu (influenza) and
Cold (common cold)
Often these terms are used as synonyms of viral infections that affect the upper respiratory tract but not the same from the point of view INFECTIOUS.
These two diseases are the most common and most expensive in the world and in the United States each year, about 100 million episodes of flu, about 20,000 people die from complications of it and lost about 15 million workdays .
Although there are three types of influenza viruses A and B viruses are responsible for human epidemics. Since 1977 have been circulating globally two subtypes of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2), and various virus B. These viruses undergo antigenic variation for this reason the flu vaccine each year to incorporate the virus that is most likely to produce the seasonal epidemic
Influenza may be spread in two ways:
By breathing in particles that are suspended in the air (like respiratory secretions of a sneeze or cough).
Touching the secretions of a sick person with his hands and then make contact with eyes or nose. Like for example, when greeting a sick person.
The incubation period is usually 1 to 4 days.
Uncomplicated influenza is characterized by an abrupt onset of respiratory signs and symptoms and general (fever, muscle pain, headache, malaise, rhinitis, burning throat and a nonproductive cough). In most cases the symptoms disappear within a few days although cough and malaise can persist for more than two weeks. In some cases it may complicate underlying respiratory diseases such as emphysema or heart failure and pneumonia develop into primary influenza virus and secondary bacterial pneumonia.
In children can reach accompanied by nausea and vomiting, which often confuses the diagnosis.
The common cold or flu
Rhino viruses are the infectious agents most frequently associated with the cold, may be responsible for 30 to 50% of cases. Other viruses that cause colds are the corona viruses and respiratory syntactical virus (which can cause bronchitis in babies), adeno virus and para influenza virus. This disease is so common that the average preschool children are 7 to 10 episodes per year as adults 2-3. There are over 200 types of respiratory viruses involved in the cold.
The major symptoms of cold are runny nose and nasal congestion, manifested after 2-3 days of incubation of the virus, sneezing and sore throat are also common but cough and headache are not as common. Fever is not common and when present may indicate that it is influenza or bacterial infection. Two thirds of patients recover within a week, but can last up to 14 days.
It is important to differentiate especially when it comes to older people with significant diseases as lung disease, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, steroid (cortisone derivatives) and cancer. In children it is also very important to differentiate because of the risk of developing a disease called Reye syndrome as it is associated with the use of aspirin and influenza virus. The same applies to the use of aspirin when they have chickenpox.