flu (flu)

This is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. Its symptoms are high fever (38º or more), headache, weakness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, muscle pain and general malaise. Digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also appear, but these are more common in children than adults. The disease has a short incubation period (2 to 5 days) and is highly contagious one day before onset and up to seven days after.


The flu shot should be done in the fall, before the first cold weather. Primarily indicated for risk groups such as adults over 65 years of age, people with chronic diseases (diabetics, heart and lung disease) and immunocompromised, children or adolescents who are on long-term therapy with acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and working. caregivers (doctors, nurses and those who come into contact with high-risk patients). In any case, it can be used from the age of six months without limiting the maximum age.

In addition, we can take the following steps to prevent human-to-human transmission of the disease:

Wash your hands often (before and after eating, after returning from the street, after shaking hands with a coughing or cold person, after going to the toilet, etc.).

Stay away from people with the flu.

When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or, otherwise, with your elbow. Covering with hands is not recommended, as this facilitates the transmission of the virus.


If the victim does not suffer from a chronic disease, it is convenient to adhere to the following behaviors:

l Get plenty of rest.

l Drink plenty of fluids.

l Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

Stay at home and do not come into contact with other people so as not to infect them.

Over-the-counter medications meant to relieve flu symptoms can be taken, but only for a few days, and if these symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted.

Aspirin should not be given to children or young adults.

Most people in good health recover from the flu without complications.

Pay attention to emergency signs

Some people affected by the flu may have some key emergency signs that indicate that the patient needs urgent medical attention:

In children, symptoms include persistent fever, rapid or labored breathing, blueness of the skin, changes in consciousness (such as difficulty waking up), and irritability. Also when flu symptoms get better but then come back with fever and worsening cough.

In adults, symptoms include high or persistent fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, fainting, confusion, or severe and/or persistent vomiting.


This is a very common infectious disease that affects the upper respiratory tract. It is more common in winter, although cold weather is not the main reason for its occurrence. This generates absenteeism from high school and work, as well as a significant demand for clinical consultations.

The common cold is caused by viruses that are spread in the environment when an ill person coughs, talks, or touches another person in their environment. Since there are over 200 different viruses that cause illness, it is possible for more than one cold a year to be caused by a different pathogen.

The first symptoms (itchy throat, congestion or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache, mild fever, fatigue or muscle aches) appear two to three days after contact with the source of infection. The chance of infection is highest in the first four days, and although one in four colds lasts two weeks or longer, most of them go away within a week.


Given the large number of viruses that can cause the common cold, there is no vaccine to prevent it, and only medications that reduce symptoms are available. It is also helpful to follow these guidelines:

Maintain abundant hydration, especially for children and the elderly.

Avoid strenuous activities and stay calm.

Have a comfortable, temperate environment with adequate air renewal. A raised headboard can help reduce the intensity of nighttime coughs and increase airflow into the body.

To try to avoid infection, the following measures should be taken:

Try to stay away from those who smoke or have a cold. Virus particles travel up to 12 feet through the air when a person with a cold coughs or sneezes. Meanwhile, tobacco smoke irritates the respiratory tract, nose and throat and tends to aggravate the symptoms of the disease.

Wash your hands very well and often, especially after blowing your nose.

Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Do not share towels, dishes and cutlery with a cold person.

Also, don’t drink from the same glass, can, or bottle as other people, as it’s impossible to know if someone is about to get infected and is already spreading the virus.

Do not use handkerchiefs that other people use.

During the course of a cold, complications such as sinusitis, otitis media, tonsillitis, or an exacerbation of a pre-existing chronic respiratory disease can occur. If the patient’s condition worsens instead of improving, you should immediately consult a general practitioner.

Finally, it should be especially noted, both for influenza and for colds, that under no circumstances should antibiotics be used as a means of treatment, since these drugs are not indicated for diseases caused by viruses.


There are many myths about the common cold: are antibiotics effective? Is it good to take honey and lemon? Here we explain what is the truth about the common cold.

1) Colds and flu are the same thing.

They are not the same. The common cold or common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by various viruses, mainly rhinoviruses. It usually does not cause serious complications, and there is no specific treatment or vaccine to prevent it.

On the other hand, influenza, also called influenza, is an infection that affects not only the upper respiratory tract, but also the lungs or other organs, and can have a very serious evolution with associated mortality. There are specific antiviral drugs to treat it and vaccines to prevent it.

2) Daily intake of vitamin C prevents colds.

It is recommended to consume vitamin C in its pharmaceutical form, or even better in fruits, because it is a natural stimulant of the defense against viruses in general. In high doses, it can help you better fight the viruses that cause colds and other viral infections. However, cold prevention has not been proven by scientific studies.

3) Taking Antibiotics Stops Colds Quickly

This is one of the myths that needs to be dispelled since antibiotics do not work on viruses and therefore do not play any role in colds or flu. Abuse of it carries the risk of multiple side effects (allergies, diarrhea, etc.) and the emergence of bacterial resistance with enormous damage at the population level.

4) A spoonful of honey before bed soothes a cough.

There are many scientific studies of varying methodological quality that have demonstrated the effectiveness of honey in reducing cough. Since it has a good safety profile, it is recommended to use it, but only in people over one year old.

5) At the first symptoms of a cold, it is useful to take honey with lemon

While there is no research to support its effectiveness, we do know that both the honey and vitamin C found in lemon have immune system-boosting properties and may be helpful in fighting viral infections.

6) Propolis is used for the prevention and treatment of winter diseases.

There is not enough evidence to support this claim. Although some of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of propolis are known, there are only a few studies that support its use for the treatment of herpes.

7) Boiling eucalyptus leaves for inhalation or placing them in a container on the stove helps get rid of nasal congestion.

There is no research to support its use for symptomatic relief, even if only air humidified with steam is considered, which may even cause some side effects such as feeling short of breath or increased nasal congestion.

8) Applying menthol creams to your nose and chest helps you breathe better.

There are no studies to support its effectiveness. Its use stimulates cold receptors, but does not improve airflow in the airways. They are used as part of traditional medicine, given the effect on the sensation of temperature.

9) If you have a sore throat, it is useful to gargle with warm water and salt.

There is no evidence to support this claim. It’s also unclear whether gargling with water helps prevent colds.

10) Without exposing ourselves to temperature changes, we cannot catch a cold.

While there are no studies that show this, exposure to cold is known to increase the risk of respiratory infections, likely due to changes in the immune system and vasoconstriction in the airways. However, there are other, more significant factors in contracting a viral respiratory infection, such as age, season, presence of other diseases, and contact with other sick people or with children.

11) Eating garlic and onions helps to get rid of colds.

There is insufficient quality evidence to support this claim and its use cannot be recommended for this purpose. While other health benefits have been described, its use usually carries a characteristic odor as a side effect.

12) In order to avoid colds, it is good to wash your hands often, cough with your mouth closed, and avoid going to places with large crowds of people.

These are very useful recommendations for reducing the spread of respiratory viruses, which means that we should put them into practice, especially during the cold months of the year, when this type of infection increases the most.

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