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Cold and flu: causes, symptoms, and medication

The common cold, including chest colds, head colds, and the flu (influenza) are all caused by different viruses. Apart from a runny or stuffed nose, there may be different other symptoms that accompany your cold or flu.

What is a cold and flu?

The common cold is a viral infection that affects your upper respiratory system (nose and throat). Most colds are harmless and go away after a few days. It is common for a person to experience a cold 2-3 times a year.

The flu, on the other hand, is a respiratory disease caused specifically by the influenza virus. It affects the nose, throat, and in some cases, the lungs. Though typically mild, the flu can worsen, leading to hospitalization and in extreme cases, death. It is recommended for one to receive a yearly flu vaccine to protect yourself from transmitting the disease.

What are the causes of the cold and flu?

Both the common cold and the flu are caused by viruses that enter the body through mucus membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth. These viruses are usually transmitted from the hands to the nose, mouth, or eyes whenever we touch these body parts, which makes frequent handwashing with soap and water very important in preventing the cold and flu. The virus can also be transmitted when someone who is sick with the cold or flu coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth, causing droplets of their saliva to be expelled, which may land on someone else.

Contrary to popular belief, getting caught in the rain or exposure to cold wind (mahamugan) cannot cause a cold or flu. 

What are cold and flu symptoms?

The cold and flu share many similar symptoms such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Cough

The flu, while similar to the cold, will usually present itself with more severe symptoms. Apart from the ones mentioned above, flu patients may also experience:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains and soreness

Correct treatment for the cold and flu

There is no treatment for the common cold. Most cases of the common cold go away after a week or so, with or without treatment. A cough associated with the cold may linger for several more days, though. 

Flu patients can take antiviral drugs to relieve their flu symptoms and lessen the severity of the sickness.

What are the cold and flu drugs?

Those suffering from a cold can take the following over-the-counter medication:

  • Decongestants
  • Pain relievers
  • Fever reducing medicine (such as ibuprofen)

Flu patients can take any of the following medication:

  • Decongestants
  • Pain relievers
  • Fever reducing medicine (such as ibuprofen)
  • Cough medication (depending on if the person is suffering from productive or nonproductive cough)
Recommended Medicines for Respiratory System
Phenylpropanolamine HCI Oral Drops 6.25mg/ml 10ml (TGP) -1
PPA+Brompheniramine Drops 6.25mg 2mg 15ml (COMBINASE)-1
Salbutamol Nebule 2.5mg 2.5ml (TGP-ASMA-GONE)-30
PPA+Brompheniramine Syr 12.5mg/4mg 60ml (COMBINASE)-1
Paracetamol +PPA+ Chlorphenamine 125/12.5/1mg Syr 60ml (FLUDEX)-1
PPA+CPM Tab 25mg/2mg (PHENYCOL)-100
PPA+Guaifenesin Syr 6.25mg/100mg 60ml (COLDREX-G)-1
PPA+Guaifenesin+CPM Syr 100mg/2mg/6.5mg 60ml (DEFLEMIN)-1
PPA + Paracetamol + Dextro Cap 325/25/10 (DEXTROCOL)-100
Phenylpropanolamine Drops 6.25mg 15ml (NASALGEN)-1
Phenylpropanolamine Syr 12.5mg 60ml (NASALGEN)-1
PP+Chlorphenamine+Para 6.25mg/ 500mcg/ 125mg Syr 60ml (COLDZEP)-1
Salbutamol Syr 2mg 60ml (SOLBEN)-1
Salbutamol Syr 2mg 60ml (TGP)-1
Salbutamol Tab 2mg (SOLBEN)-100
Salbutamol Tab 4mg (SOLBEN)-100
Recommended Medicines for Respiratory System
Phenylpropanolamine HCI Oral Drops 6.25mg/ml 10ml (TGP) -1
PPA+Brompheniramine Drops 6.25mg 2mg 15ml (COMBINASE)-1
Salbutamol Nebule 2.5mg 2.5ml (TGP-ASMA-GONE)-30
PPA+Brompheniramine Syr 12.5mg/4mg 60ml (COMBINASE)-1
Paracetamol +PPA+ Chlorphenamine 125/12.5/1mg Syr 60ml (FLUDEX)-1
PPA+CPM Tab 25mg/2mg (PHENYCOL)-100
PPA+Guaifenesin Syr 6.25mg/100mg 60ml (COLDREX-G)-1
PPA+Guaifenesin+CPM Syr 100mg/2mg/6.5mg 60ml (DEFLEMIN)-1
PPA + Paracetamol + Dextro Cap 325/25/10 (DEXTROCOL)-100
Phenylpropanolamine Drops 6.25mg 15ml (NASALGEN)-1
Phenylpropanolamine Syr 12.5mg 60ml (NASALGEN)-1
PP+Chlorphenamine+Para 6.25mg/ 500mcg/ 125mg Syr 60ml (COLDZEP)-1
Salbutamol Syr 2mg 60ml (SOLBEN)-1
Salbutamol Syr 2mg 60ml (TGP)-1
Salbutamol Tab 2mg (SOLBEN)-100
Salbutamol Tab 4mg (SOLBEN)-100
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