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Cold and Flu

Summary

The common cold, including chest cold and head cold, and seasonal flu are caused by viruses. The flu is a viral infection affecting your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs. Typical symptoms of flu include fever, sore throat, tiredness and muscle aches.

Symptoms

Depression includes emotional symptoms such as a

  • loss of interest in normal activities.
  • feeling sad.
  • feeling down.
  • feeling empty or feeling worthless.

Physical symptoms of depression include

  • feeling tired.
  • run down.

People with depression may face stigma or find it difficult to talk about their mental illness. There are, however, specific things you can do if you are helping or caring for someone with depression.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can vary. They may include:

  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events.
  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes.
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t.
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty.
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision.
  • Inability to set aside or let go of a worry.
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind “goes blank”.

Physical signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches.
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy.
  • Nervousness or being easily startled.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Irritability.
Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent colds, especially in children. As children grow into adults, they naturally get fewer colds.

The following may help protect you against catching colds:

  • Wash your hands often, especially when you are around people with colds.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking irritates the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, and lungs, which may make them more susceptible to infections.
  • Keep your stress levels under control. If you are exposed to cold viruses, a high level of stress may increase your chances of catching a cold.
  • When you have a cold, avoid sneezing without covering your mouth. Also avoid spreading nasal secretions on your hands.
  • Use disposable tissues rather than a handkerchief.
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