Cold vs Flu 101: Essentials to Help You Fight Through the Flu Season

Cold vs Flu 101: Essentials to Help You Fight Through the Flu Season

With the fall season in full swing, you may already have started noticing a nip in the air. If you’ve begun removing the sweaters stored at the back of the cupboard and gotten out thick blankets and shawls to keep the family warm, it’s also time to stock up on essentials to help prevent and treat a flu. This is important now more than ever, with COVID-19 looming over our heads, making children and the elderly more susceptible to falling ill during this time. But, avoid panicking if you notice your little one or anyone else in the family having the sniffles and mistake it for the coronavirus, as chances are it could just be a seasonal cold. In this article, we will discuss how to differentiate between a cold and flu, and make note of which essentials to keep on hand to prevent and treat the first instance of any illness.

Difference Between a Cold and Flu

Even after taking preventative measures, if you feel under the weather, the first step is diagnosing what exactly you have. So, is it a cold or flu? Find out!

Symptoms of a Cold

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Slight headache, in case of sinusitis
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing or sore throat
  • Feeling low

Symptoms of Flu

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Mild to severe headache
  • Sore throat and dry cough
  • Moderate to high fever
  • Muscle and body ache
  • Chills
  • Extreme fatigue

Unwell mom with daughter

As seen above, a cold is a symptom of flu, but the flu brings along with it other distinguishing symptoms such as a fever, fatigue, body pain and more. Keeping a note of any rises in temperature can indicate that you have the flu, which an accurate and easy-to-use thermometer will help you with. The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer is proven accurate by over 87 published clinical studies and comes with a host of features that make it user-friendly and a breeze to track temperature. With a digital LCD display that holds memories of up to 8 readings, all it needs is a gentle swipe across the forehead, and you have the result in 3-5 seconds. The soft glow display makes it easy to check your little one’s temperature in the night, without switching on the light and waking her up. Moreover, it is non-invasive and measures arterial temperature accurately, for a faster and smoother diagnosis. Knowing the right temperature is important, and accuracy matters in order to start the right treatment.

Essentials to Keep On Hand During Flu Season

 Having the right items at home will allow you to focus on helping yourself, your little ones or your family members feel better, rather than running to the store at the last minute. Here are some essentials to stock up on during flu season to stay prepared and fight off the infection!

1. Tissues

Colds can spread through the household and infect family members, without proper care. It’s best to hoard up to tissues beforehand and make sure you use and dispose of them immediately to contain the infection. A handkerchief or rough paper towel may cause abrasions over time, so buy soft tissues to minimise chafing.

2. Heating Pad

A heating pad will provide relief to sore muscles and body pain, helping you combat chills and aches that are common symptoms of flu. Plus, warming up your body will also help fight off the infection faster, so invest in a good quality heating pad.

3. Separate Water Bottles

Many households often have a common water jug or bottle that everyone drinks from. But make sure that each family member gets a separate water bottle to drink from. Also, buy 1-litre bottles and make everyone drink at least 3-4 bottles of water a day to stay hydrated and get well faster.

4. Thermometer

A thermometer is a must-have, irrespective of the season. But this is the time when a thermometer can be your saving grace and detect any rises in temperature at the first instance. Track temperature twice a day, as rises in body temperature often happen in the evening due to the body’s circadian rhythm. It’s best to go for a non-invasive thermometer, as in-ear or rectal thermometers will only make the unwell person more irritable and uncomfortable. The Temporal Artery Thermometer by Exergen is perfect in such cases, as it is non-invasive and easy to use. It measures arterial heat balance and gives an accurate reading in 3-5 seconds, making sure that external factors like climate or consumption of hot beverages do not interfere with the reading. All it requires is a gentle swipe across the forehead, and you can immediately see the result on its digital LCD display. Its memory feature gives you some respite from writing down or remembering previous readings, so you can easily track temperature without much effort. With this thermometer in your arsenal, you can rest assured that any indication of fever will be detected at the earliest.

temporal artery thermometer

5. Sanitiser

This one product has proven to be very effective in preventing the transmission of viruses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stock up on sanitiser and make sure everyone disinfects their hands regularly, especially if they are feeling unwell. In case of dryness due to alcohol in the sanitiser, pick up a tub of cream and use it regularly.

6. Disinfectant Sprays

It’s only a matter of time for the virus to spread across the household once someone falls sick, and the culprit is often common surfaces around the house that everyone touches. Buy a disinfectant spray and regularly use it around the house to kill any lingering germs and keep everyone safe.

7. Medication

It is hard to sleep comfortably when sick. Decongestants, pain relievers and cough drops relieve some symptoms accompanying the flu, so the patient can rest comfortably. But don’t take this lightly, especially for children. Consult your doctor beforehand for a list of medicines and their usage and keep two separate kits- one for adults and one for kids. Always check with the doctor before administering any medication!

8. Humidifier

Humidifiers add moisture to the air and ease cold and chest congestion. Plus, they don’t allow your skin to dry out. Buy a humidifier for the room and clean it regularly, so that you can rest comfortably and recover faster.

Mom comforting unwell child

Tips to Prevent a Cold and Flu

If you’re worried about catching a cold during this season, here are some tips and tricks to increase immunity and stay safe!

1. Maintain Hygiene

Wash and sanitise your hands regularly and avoid stepping outside unless absolutely needed, especially during the pandemic. Don’t share any utensils or glasses with anyone in the family and disinfect surfaces in the house from time to time. Make sure every family member follows the same hygiene practices, no matter the age.

2. Eat Nutritious Food

Eat nutritious food throughout the day, making sure you cover all the food groups and have a balanced diet. Stick to home-cooked food using simple ingredients, and you’ll see the family’s immune systems stay strong!

3. Track Temperature Regularly

Temperature tracking has proven highly effective in diagnosing many infections, most importantly, the flu. Track temperature twice a day, if not more, for anyone who is feeling sick or prone to infection, especially kids. Exergen’s Temporal Artery Thermometer is the most preferred by doctors and nurses in the USA for temperature tracking. It requires minimal contact and shows readings after only a gentle swipe across the forehead. Its memory feature ensures you can detect any sudden rise in temperature that may be a cause for concern, and the soft LCD display makes it a breeze to check temperature at night. If your little one dislikes rectal or in-ear thermometers, the temporal artery thermometer will be her best friend, as it is non-invasive and takes under five seconds for a reading, so she can sleep or play comfortably. With accurate readings and easy usage, this one is a go-to thermometer for every household.

4. Stay Active

Exercise and stay active every day, even if you cannot go outdoors. Allotting an hour daily for the entire family to exercise together can help you motivate each other and makes for some fun bonding time too.

With flu season just beginning, it’s time to amp up your immunity game and take measures to stay safe. Eating healthy, tracking temperature and staying active, among others, work wonders to prevent cold and flu, and even recover quickly from illnesses. If you notice any symptoms worsening, make sure to contact your doctor immediately, who can give you the right advice. To health and happiness!

Also Read:

Considering buying a thermometer? Here’s what you should know!
How to Check Your Child’s Temperature the Right Way

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Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.