Difference between flu & colds?
Both illnesses are caused by viruses and affect the nose, throat, ears, and occasionally the lungs. They can be hard to tell apart as many of the symptoms are similar. The influenza virus (that comes in a variety of strains) causes flu.
However, a good rule of thumb to understand which virus you have is that colds usually affect only the nose and throat area, while flu makes your entire body feel unwell, often involving symptoms like fever, body aches and fatigue. The flu tends to have more severe symptoms, and can make you feel tired for a few weeks after your other symptoms improve.
Complications that arise from colds and flu (such as ear or sinus infections) are unusual, but children are amongst the groups most vulnerable to them.
Symptoms of colds & flu
The most common symptoms of a cold are:
• Runny or blocked nose
• Sore throat
• Mild fever
• Loss of appetite
• Generally feeling unwell
Sometimes, children can have an episode of vomiting, especially when coughing.
A child with flu will have similar symptoms to those of a cold, but they're more intense and last for longer. They may have a reduced appetite, tiredness and aches. They may also have ear pain if their middle ear becomes infected. It's also normal with the flu to have a high temperature and feel feverish. However, if your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38°C or above, or is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39°C or above, you should take them to the doctor.
Flu can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing and a harsh cough. It's important to keep close watch of children with these symptoms, even at night.
Colds can last from a few days to a week, while flu can take up to two weeks to go away, with tiredness lasting for around three weeks.
Treatment for colds & flu in children
There's no cure for these infections, however, the body is usually able to fight the infection and heal itself in a fairly short time. To help relieve symptoms:
• Make sure they rest at home. By not sending your child back to school until their fever, nose and throat symptoms are gone you will also help to prevent the spread of colds or flu
• Let your child rest as much as possible and offer water frequently
• Keep your child warm but take care to avoid overheating
• Control fever with paracetamol or ibuprofen in syrups
Take special care with cough syrups since there are age restrictions on most preparations. Check with your pharmacist about which preparations are most suitable for your child. Preparations may contain decongestants (for a blocked nose), expectorants (that loosen and thin your mucus so you can cough it up), antihistamines to aid sleep or cough suppressants.
Antibiotics are not used to treat colds and the flu since they have no effect on viruses. They are only useful in bacterial infections.
Symptons of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
a high temperature
shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
How coronavirus is spread
Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.
Do I need to avoid public places?
Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places.
You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home or into work
use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from the heart down through the chest and tummy.
An AAA can be dangerous if it is not spotted early on.
It can get bigger over time and could burst (rupture), causing life-threatening bleeding.
Men aged 65 and over are most at risk of AAAs. This is why men are invited for screening to check for an AAA when they're 65.
AAAs do not usually cause any obvious symptoms, and are often only picked up during screening or tests carried out for another reason.
Some people with an AAA have:
a pulsing sensation in the tummy (like a heartbeat)
tummy pain that does not go away
lower back pain that does not go away
If an AAA bursts, it can cause:
sudden, severe pain in the tummy or lower back
sweaty, pale and clammy skin
a fast heartbeat
shortness of breath
fainting or passing out
How to check your blood pressure at home
You don't always have to go to your doctor's office to have your blood pressure checked; you can monitor your own blood pressure at home. This is especially important if your doctor recommends that you monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis.
Tips for Checking Your Own Blood Pressure
There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:
Try to avoid as many of these factors as you can when taking your blood pressure. Also, try to measure your blood pressure at about the same time each day. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times during the day to see if it fluctuates.
Before Checking Your Blood Pressure
Find a quiet place to check your blood pressure. You will need to listen for your heartbeat.
Make sure that you are comfortable and relaxed with a recently emptied bladder (a full bladder may affect your reading).
Roll up the sleeve on your arm or remove any tight-sleeved clothing.
Rest in a chair next to a table for 5 to 10 minutes. Your arm should rest comfortably at heart level. Sit up straight with your back against the chair, legs uncrossed. Rest your forearm on the table with the palm of your hand facing up.
Step-by-Step Blood Pressure Check
If you purchase a manual or digital blood pressure monitor (sphygmomanometer), follow the instruction booklet carefully.
The following steps provide an overview of how to take your left arm blood pressure on either a manual or digital blood pressure monitor. Simply reverse the sides to take a blood pressure in your right arm.
1. Locate your pulse
Locate your pulse by lightly pressing your index and middle fingers slightly to the inside center of the bend of your elbow (where the brachial artery is). If you cannot locate your pulse, place the head of the stethoscope (on a manual monitor) or the arm cuff (on a digital monitor) in the same general area.
2. Secure the cuff
Slide the cuff onto your arm, making sure that the stethoscope head is over the artery (when using a manual monitor.) The cuff may be marked with an arrow to show the location of the stethoscope head. The lower edge of the cuff should be about 1 inch above the bend of your elbow. Use the fabric fastener to make the cuff snug, but not too tight.
Place the stethoscope in your ears. Tilt the ear pieces slightly forward to get the best sound.
3. Inflate and deflate the cuff
If you are using a manual monitor:
Hold the pressure gauge in your left hand and the bulb in your right.
Close the airflow valve on the bulb by turning the screw clockwise.
Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. You may hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure. At this point, you should not hear your pulse in the stethoscope.
Keeping your eyes on the gauge, slowly release the pressure in the cuff by opening the airflow valve counterclockwise. The gauge should fall only 2 to 3 points with each heartbeat. (You may need to practice turning the valve slowly.)
Listen carefully for the first pulse beat. As soon as you hear it, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your systolic pressure (the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats).
Continue to slowly deflate the cuff.
Listen carefully until the sound disappears. As soon as you can no longer hear your pulse, note the reading on the gauge. This reading is your diastolic pressure (the blood pressure between heartbeats).
Allow the cuff to completely deflate.
You'll get the most accurate reading if your arm is held straight.
If you released the pressure too quickly or could not hear your pulse, DO NOT inflate the cuff again right away. Wait one minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.
If you are using a digital monitor:
Hold the bulb in your right hand.
Press the power button. All display symbols should appear briefly, followed by a zero. This indicates that the monitor is ready.
Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb with your right hand. If you have a monitor with automatic cuff inflation, press the start button.
Watch the gauge. Keep inflating the cuff until the gauge reads about 30 points (mm Hg) above your expected systolic pressure.
Sit quietly and watch the monitor. Pressure readings will be displayed on the screen. For some devices, values may appear on the left, then on the right.
Wait for a long beep. This means that the measurement is complete. Note the pressures on the display screen. Systolic pressure (the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats) appears on the left and diastolic pressure (the blood pressure between heartbeats) on the right. Your pulse rate may also be displayed in between or after this reading.
Allow the cuff to deflate.
If you did not get an accurate reading, DO NOT inflate the cuff again right away. Wait one minute before repeating the measurement. Start by reapplying the cuff.
4. Record your blood pressure.
Follow your doctor's instructions on when and how often you should measure your blood pressure. Record the date, time, systolic and diastolic pressures. You should also record any special circumstances like any recent exercise, meal, or stressful event.
At least once a year, and especially after you first purchase your blood pressure monitor, bring your monitor with you to your doctor's visit to check the machine’s accuracy. This is done by comparing a blood pressure reading from your machine with one from the doctor's office machine