The difference between the common cold and the flu

Everyone gets sick occasionally, and in a typical situation, remedies and medical care are readily available. However, in a SHTF scenario, you will have limited access to medical help, and when you happen to catch any illness, you won’t have the time or resources to figure out what caused it and how to remedy it. Before you know it, sickness has spread in your family.

Preparing for any disaster includes basic medical knowledge to make sure you’re able to assist anyone in the family in times of sickness. Being able to tell the difference between a common cold and the flu, for instance, can help you decide on the appropriate approach in terms of medical care. (h/t to

A common cold will run its course without too much trouble. However, the flu can lead to severe complications if left untreated.

Distinguishing between common colds and the flu

The usual first indicator of a common cold is a sore throat, which typically lasts for a couple of days before going away, followed by runny or stuffed nose. The color of your nasal discharge will start off as clear then changes to yellow or green, with thicker consistency as the cold runs its course. After a few days, you may start coughing. Coughs with a cold can be wet or dry; a wet cough means your body is clearing out excess mucus from your airways, while a dry, hacking cough means your cold is affecting your upper respiratory tract instead of the lower part. Dry coughs tend to get worse at night.

Lastly, low-grade fevers may develop, albeit more commonly in children than adults. If the temperature exceeds 101.5 F, you may be dealing with more than just a common cold.

On the other hand, the flu announces its presence in more serious ways. It can cause severe side effects and even death. When you get the flu, you will have sudden body aches and pains, as if you “got run over by a truck.” You will feel aches in your joints, muscles, and head. Moreover, you will feel a sweeping wave of exhaustion, weakness, and fatigue. You feel like you can’t do anything, and just long to go sit down and rest for a bit. This can last for weeks after your initial symptoms.

The flu can also cause a higher fever than a cold and can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia. A high fever that goes away and comes back is a sign of a complication. Children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

The flu can cause diarrhea and vomiting, more often with children. They can also be signs of other conditions such as stomach flu or food poisoning.

The time of year of your illness can be one sign of whether you have the flu or a cold. The typical “flu season” runs from fall to spring, while you can develop a cold at any time of the year.

Home remedies for colds and flu

Right now, you have access to modern medical care and the internet, where you can search for symptoms and even order treatments online. Use this time to help you prepare for any emergency or disaster; read all you can about various home remedies to improve your medical knowledge. Your family will thank you for it.

To help you out, here are some of the best home remedies for colds and flu:

  • Echinacea – Its active ingredients include flavonoids, chemicals that have many therapeutic effects on the body, such as boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation. To lower your risk of developing colds, consider taking one to two grams of echinacea root or herb as a tea, three times daily, for one week.
  • Elderberry syrup – Elderberry (Sambucus) is an American fruit that can help treat conjunctivitis, cold and flu symptoms, and reduce congestion.
  • Garlic – Garlic is a natural antifungal, antibacterial and antibiotic, which helps fight off many kinds of illness. Garlic loses its potency when cooked, so it’s best taken raw during times of sickness.
  • Ginger – Ginger has potent antiviral properties, as well as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant activities. Ginger also soothes the stomach and throat, can suppress a cough and can minimize pain and fever.
  • Probiotics – These “good bacteria” can help keep your gut and immune system healthy, and research indicates that probiotics may reduce your chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection.
  • Raw honey – Raw honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can ease sore throat pain and suppress coughs.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is well-known for supporting the immune system and preventing colds and flu.

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