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Is it a cold or is it the flu? Test your knowledge of cold or flu symptoms, prevention and treatment with this quick quiz.
Q: You woke up this morning with a sore throat, runny nose and cough. Do you have a cold or the flu?
A: Probably a cold.
While these symptoms can also be associated with the flu, they are more common for a cold.
Q: You develop a sudden fever, with a temperature of between 38 ºC and 40 ºC, you ache all over and can’t get out of bed. Do you have a cold or the flu?
A: Very likely the flu.
While fever, muscle pain and fatigue are also associated with colds, they are more common and much more severe during a bout of flu. Also, flu symptoms come on suddenly, whereas colds have a more gradual onset.
S: A treated cold will go away faster than an untreated one.
There is no way to cure the common cold. However, over-the-counter medications can reduce cold symptoms and help you sleep better at night so that you can function better as your body fights the virus.
S: Medications that taste bad work better.
There is no connection between how a medication tastes and its effectiveness in reducing symptoms. Check the drug’s ingredients instead.
S: Vitamin C helps prevent colds.
A: Probably false.
It’s true that vitamin C plays a role in immune system function. However, its effectiveness in preventing colds is more controversial. Most studies have shown that vitamin C—even a daily 1 g supplement—can’t prevent colds. However, some studies observed a decrease in the number of colds in people exposed to stress and cold temperatures who took preventive doses of vitamin C. In these studies, the people who benefited from vitamin C treatment were marathon runners, skiers and soldiers.
Vitamin C’s effectiveness as a cold remedy is also controversial. Some studies have shown that supplements with high concentrations of this vitamin can shorten the duration of symptoms by approximately 1 day. However, other studies have failed to show this effect, even with higher doses of vitamin C. Also, high doses may cause side effects, such as diarrhea.
Vitamin C supplements are not for everyone. If you want to take them, talk to your pharmacist first to make sure they’re right for you.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.