COLD AND FLU SEASON

cold and flu season

The common cold and flu ( influenza) are the most common infection syndromes in humans. Today more attention is paid to these ailments due to the pandemic we are experiencing. These diseases are diagnosed by symptomatology, and the treatments are mainly symptomatic; however, our knowledge of the mechanisms that generate  symptoms is deficient compared to the amount of knowledge available about the molecular biology of viruses. The mechanisms of the symptoms of a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, cough, watery eyes, and sinus pain are discussed, since these mechanisms are not covered in detail in standard medical textbooks.

During the cold and flu season, it is common to present signs and symptoms that are similar in nature., The flu is caused by the influenza virus,  a virus that is quite common and highly contagious. It affects the respiratory tract, but it is not the same as a cold. It is known that the flu virus can cause from a mild to a serious illness, even resulting in death at any age. It spreads easily when a healthy person is exposed to the saliva particles of a sick person when sneezing, coughing, talking, or screaming. The virus appears in a higher proportion in the winter, when other health problems occur at this same time.

HOW DO WE DIFFERENTIATE THE SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS BETWEEN A COLD AND THE FLU?

When a person has the flu, they usually have severe headaches, a high fever, persistent cough, nausea, body aches from head to toe, a loss of vitality, and the loss of the ability to perform daily activities or work compared to a cold that presents with headaches, little to no fatigue or weakness,   and a stuffy and runny nose. Most patients find that nasal congestion and discharge are the most bothersome symptoms of the common cold. Nasal blockage can be reduced effectively with decongestants administered intranasally or orally such as first-generation antihistamines  that reduce sneezing and the annoying runny nose.

You may or may not have a cough; remember that a cold is not not as contagious as the flu. Cough medications, both antitussives and mucolytics, are used frequently, although their effectiveness has been poorly demonstrated.

Due to the similarity between signs and symptoms, it can be difficult to recognize one from the other. Thus, it is important to be careful not to infect or be infected when around people who present any symptoms. 

In a study of the symptoms of the common cold, infected nasal discharges were classified as “early” or “late” rapidly after 1 to 2 days. while subsequent symptoms (malaise, runny nose, nasal obstruction, and a cough) developed slowly over several days and were still present one week later. The course of an early symptom (sneezing) is compared to that of a later symptom (cough).

WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT THE FLU?

One of the most effective ways to prevent the flu is by administering a vaccine against influenza, which generally has a protection duration of one year. Another is frequent hand washing and the use of topical antibacterials to avoid infection. In addition, it is wise to avoid direct contact with people who have signs or symptoms of the flu. In the same way, a person who is sick with the flu and does not want to infect others should choose to cover their nose when coughing or sneezing, stay at home while they have symptoms, and dispose of tissues immediately.

Another way to prevent colds or the flu is the administration of vitamin C, although the scientific evidence in this regard is still weak. It has been determined that routine supplementation with vitamin C does not reduce the incidence of colds in the general population. However, v Some trials have shown that vitamin C reduces the duration of colds; but this was not repeated in the few therapeutic trials conducted. However, given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in regular supplementation studies, and the low cost and safety, it might be helpful for patients with the common cold to individually test whether vitamin C Therapeutic is beneficial for them although it would not be decisive.

Only a few therapeutic trials have been conducted and none have examined children, although the effect of prophylactic vitamin C has been greater in children. It is clear that more trials are needed to determine the possible role of vitamin C therapeutically given at the onset of symptoms. 

WAYS TO CARE FOR OUR MOUTH DURING A COLD OR FLU:

While the disease process lasts, generally 7 days, it is recommended to maintain good hydration. Maintaining oral health care is important. The following is recommended:

  • to the viral load, there is a decrease in the immune system of a patient. This presents  oral problems, so prevention will always be appropriate to avoid them. Periodic controls will be indicated by your dentist, who will perform a cleaning and basic dental treatment at least every 6 or 8 months. If the health professional has already diagnosed an oral dental problem, he or she will elect to carry out the treatment immediately to avoid complications and added costs.. As a group of dentists, we will guarantee an optimal state of oral health  during episodes of the flu or a cold.
  •  When the person with signs or symptoms of a cold or flu already has the disease in process, they must maintain adequate oral hygiene with greater dedication than usual to eradicate the presence of the bacterial and viral foci of the illness. Brushing should be thorough and  after all meals.
  •  The patient with signs or symptoms of a cold or flu should frequently use antiseptic mouthwashes, preferably those containing cetylpyridinium chloride or chlorhexidine in low concentrations, or you can choose to use mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide diluted with water. to defocus any bacterial or viral accumulation in the mouth.
  •  An important recommendation is to maintain your toothbrush properly. You can leave the brush soaking in a solution of the cetylpyridinium chloride or a chlorhexidine rinse. Do  not mix it with other family members’ brushes  to avoid contagion indirectly. nce the disease has passed, discard the used brush for a new one to guarantee the absence of a viral or bacterial load. http://www.dspace.uce.edu.ec/handle/25000/9426
  •  When coughing or sneezing, use a disposable tissue and discard it immediately so any residue does not infect other people.
  •  The use of disposable masks is of great help to avoid spreading a virus with the people around you. Discard or change it if you have coughed or sneezed with it on. 

It is also recommended that the patient with a cold or the flu should rest and recover in a well-ventilated room. Closed places should be avoided, especially if there are people nearby who may be exposed to the contagious virus.

It is important to take this information into account, especially in the flu or cold season since they are so common and frequent  in the population. They can affect us at any time, and we must be prepared with prevention measures and the necessary care to overcome the symptoms.. We would be happy to advise you on the dental care needed during cold and flu season.

CONTACT US:

If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental as well as our facebook page. We look forward to your visit and will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, Newbury Park and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you towards the best treatment to take care of your health and return your best smile.

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