By: Clifford M. Sonnie, M.D., M.P.H.
I was surprised to discover that many people do not know exactly what the difference is between a cold and the flu. So let me take a quick minute and tell you the differences. Now remember, nothing is written in granite. I also will not tell you my opinion of the seasonal or swine flu vaccine. (The dangerous, unproven, ineffective vacc…..Sorry, I digress.).
The cold and the flu are both viruses. They both usually present as a respiratory illness. The difference is the severity and the speed of onset. Treatment in many cases is the same but mom’s old saying of “feed a cold and starve a fever” is in some way correct too. More later.
|Aches||Slight||Usual often severe|
|Tiredness||Mild||Moderate to severe|
|Onset of Symptoms||Gradual over days||Quickly in as little as 3 hours|
|Coughing||Hacking productive cough||Dry unproductive cough|
|Chest Discomfort||Mild to moderate||Often Severe|
As you can see the distinction is quite remarkable. Now here is the problem. I defy any physician to tell me that someone with a cold may not have had significant body aches or someone with the flu presented with a productive cough and a sore throat. That’s where the art of medicine comes in.
Now what to do about it? In my opinion there are two flavors. The first flavor is prevention. These are especially important during the colder months when we are confined indoors more. Wash your hands. God made sleeves to cough in. Clean communally used surfaces frequently. Get plenty of fluids (1/2 your body weight in ounces a day). Get enough rest. Use proven immune boosting supplements. These include Vitamin C (3 grams or more a day. Work up to that). Vitamin D (3000 to 5000i.u. a day). Omega 3 oils (1 to 3 grams a day). Lysine (1500mg a day). Zinc (20-40mg a day). Echinasea (I prefer the liquid but it tastes bad). Exercise (No not marathons. Just blow the stink off). Mental rest (Leave work at work. Smell the flowers). Lastly, so as to be complete there is the vaccine. Enough said.
The second flavor is treatment. Well that’s easy. Take everything you see above and increase it while you have the symptoms. Add to it my own favorite treatment, mom’s chicken soup (Think about it. It has fluids, salt replacement, calories and it tastes good). Treatment can also come from prescription medications such as Tamiflu etc. First there are time constraints as to its administration and second I don’t believe it really is that effective.
Now reread this short article and tell me that all of this is common sense. We don’t need billions spent on treatments that are ineffective and potentially dangerous. I’ve told this story before. Nostradamus was best known for his “Quatrains”. But he was also a physician in the south of France during the time of the Bubonic Plague; also know as the Black Death. He insisted that the people in his area wash their hands and drink large amounts of Rose Hip Tea. What is in Rose Hip Tea? Vitamin C.
Ok I can’t help myself. One bit of political comment. Look at the back of the seasonal flu information sheet distributed by the CDC. It states that if you have a reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine there is a fund that exists to assist patients monetarily who had reactions to the vaccine. Now look at the back of the H1N1 vaccine sheet. It states that if you have a reaction to the H1N1 vaccine you can’t do squat. Let’s all thank the idiots in Congress for that one. Now would anyone buy a car if they knew that you could not sue the manufacturer if while driving the wheels fell off and you were injured?
No, I am not going to be arrogant enough to tell you what to do. I offer suggestions and opinions. And as, always with any treatment check with your family MD or DO or see me at my clinic. Remember, the smart health care consumer is informed and aware.
Clifford Sonnie, M.D. can be found at the Balance of Life Clinic.