We are officially in March! It’s the second week of March and we are starting to see signs of warmer weather. Just because it’s warm that doesn’t mean we have escaped the cold and flu season. Enjoying the last bit of winter doesn’t mean we are safe.
69% of working Americans don’t take sick days, even if they are actually sick.
Sometimes we can be very hesitant about taking a sick day, or maybe we already used up all of our sick days. Not only are people getting sick. 79% of those people are getting sick twice or more each cold and flu season. On average people have gone to work while being sick. The flu season usually peaks at its highest between December and February. The common cold viruses widely circulate during flu season. This causes the average adult getting two to four colds per year. Mainly between September and late April.
In order to be able to fight the common cold and influenza, we need to know the difference between the two.
- Fever – Tends to be rare when it’s just a cold
- Headache – Rare, headaches tend not to happen
- General aches and pains – You could experience slight aches and pains
- Fatigue, weakness – Sometimes feel fatigued and/or weak
- Extreme exhaustion – Should never be the case with a cold
- Stuffy nose – Having a stuffy nose is very common
- Sneezing – Usual to be sneezing often
- Sore throat- Very common to have a sore throat
- Chest discomfort – You could have a mild to moderate chest discomfort
- Cough – It is more of a hacking cough
These symptoms are very similar to the flu. That is why most people get the cold and flu confused. The following are symptoms of the flu.
- Fever – Usual, Can have a high fever of 100 F to 102 occasionally higher. Fever usually last 3-4 days.
- Headache – Are common to have with the flu
- General aches and pains – Usual, can often be severe
- Fatigue, weakness – Usual, can last up to 2 to 3 weeks
- Extreme exhaustion – Usual, experience mainly at the beginning of an illness
- Stuffy nose – Sometimes can have a stuffy nose
- Sneezing – Sometimes
- Sore throat – Sometimes can have a sore throat
- Chest discomfort – Can be common
- Cough- Usual and can become severe
Now knowing if either you have the cold and flu you can take the correct medicine and precautions.
There are a lot of different over the counter medicines that one can take. Mucinex Fast-Max Cold & Flu is every popular and fast acing. Advil or Tylenol are best for aches and sore throats. They both can also lower fevers. Sudafed or Benadryl works best to treat congestion/stuffy nose. Cough drops help to soothe sore throats and control coughing. Cold treats like ice pop or gargle with salt water can help soothe a sore throat. Don’t forget to drink lots of liquids to stay hydrated.
Regardless of either having a cold or flu, there are some general things we can do to prevent getting ourselves or others sick.
- Get your flu shot – Go to your nearest drug store and get your flu shot. If you didn’t get your flu shot at the beginning of flu season it’s never too late. Getting your flu shot, later on, can still be beneficial.
- Wash your hands – Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom. Make sure to use soap and water. Hand sanitizer like Purell is great to have for whenever you can’t wash your hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze – Use a tissue to cough or sneeze into. If you don’t have any tissue around use your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Disinfect and clean surfaces often – If you have been sneezing and coughing all day in the office, make sure you wipe everything down. Use items like Lysol disinfectant sprays or Clorox disinfectant wipes to keep your area clean.
- See a doctor – If you do get sick with the flu, see a doctor they can prescribe you medication or suggest the best over the counter medicine for you.
Staying healthy is important to being productive and having a good workday. Now you don’t have to worry if you have any sick days left. Just remember to keep your area clean and say goodbye to germs!