(flu) and the common cold are both highly contagious viral upper respiratory
But that is where the similarities end. The common cold is usually just
a nuisance, characterized by a sore throat, Rhinitis and
a cough. In contrast, influenza, can be debilitating and
frequently involves fever (101-106° F), headaches, muscle and joint aches,
exhaustion, cough, chest discomfort, pneumonia. Pneumonia is ultimately
CDC reports that influenza has caused between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses and between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations in America annually since 2010. Most people will recover in one to two weeks, but some people will develop life-threatening complications. Every year since 2010 between 12,000 and 56,000 Americans have died as a result of the flu.
Influenza viruses cause disease among all age groups. The rate of infection is highest among children, but serious illness and death are most frequent in the over 65 age group, and persons of any age who have chronic immune, respiratory or cardiac conditions. Conditions like asthma and congestive heart failure are often exacerbated by the flu. Pregnancy also increases the risk of serious complications during epidemics.
Advances in the understanding of the viral life-cycle, its genome and rapid identification of viral protein composition, are beginning to yield more effective vaccines and antiviral medications. The current challenge is to educate health professionals and the general public about their ability to reduce the severity of the next influenza epidemic.
*Rhinitis means inflammation of the lining of the nose. The moist tissue (mucous membrane) that lines the nose becomes inflamed, causing swelling and blocking the airflow. Rhinitis also causes excessive mucus production and a watery discharge.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Seasonal Influenza. Disease Burden of Influenza. Retrieved 10/13/17 from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/burden.htm
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Seasonal Influenza. Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis. Retrieved 10/13/17
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Seasonal Influenza. People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications. Retrieved 10/13/17. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm