An overview of cold and flu management
Common colds and flu are caused by very different viruses but share similar symptoms. The common cold is a self-limiting upper respiratory tract infection and it is typically caused by a rhinovirus, coronavirus or adenovirus. It usually resolves within 7–10 days. The flu is caused by the influenza virus and typically presents with headaches, myalgia, fever and generalised body aches. In South Africa deaths related to colds and flu are at least three times higher when compared to the USA. The burden of infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) in our country, heightens the risk of severe flu-related illness. However, treatment remains mostly symptomatic.