The cold and flu are common in November when most people suffer from these infections. The primary differences between a cold sickness and flu sickness is that they are caused by two different viruses. A cold is caused by the Rhinovirus and can lead to developing asthma, sinus or ear infections. This is because the respiratory tract is divided into two sections; the upper and lower parts (CDC, 2018).
The upper respiratory tract includes the sinus cavity around the nose, cheeks, mouth, forehead, larynx, and trachea; this also includes the ears. The lower respiratory tract is the bronchial tubes leading to the lungs and the lungs. Infection in the upper respiratory tract is a cold where sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing and headaches are the symptoms. This can also be caused by a sinus infection (Dasaraju & Chien, 1996)
The flu is caused by the influenza virus and is more severe than a cold. Although a cold and flu share symptoms, flu symptoms tend to be more severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting (CDC, 2018). The flu can turn into a more serious infection called pneumonia if left untreated.
Treatment for both infections are different. Neither has a cure, but the goal is to lessen the symptoms. For a cold, over the counter medications are normally recommended. In the case of a cold, antiviral medications can be prescribed. All treatments seek to lower inflammation, reduce pain, clear sinus cavities and airways.
I less common therapy is halotherapy. With halotherapy, the goal is to drastically reduce the symptoms of the infections, clear the virus causing the infection, and expedite the time it takes to overcome being sick. As with other respiratory diseases such as COPD, bronchitis, asthma, or allergies, halotherapy works by clearing the airway of mucous, reducing inflammation, improving breathing, and overall reducing the symptoms of the infection.
Halotherapy works via aerosolic sodium and chloride. Patients can sit in a salt room where the concentration of sodium and chloride in the air is high. Through breathing in the air it has been shown to reduce symptoms of respiratory problems. This includes clearing the airway of mucous because the sodium and chloride are attracted to the water in the mucous. Therefore, the molecules disperse themselves within the fluid allowing it to detach from the lining in the sinus cavity and lungs (Chervinskaya, 2007).
Halotherapy also works by eliminating infectious viruses and bacteria, increasing the amount of cells in the body designed to kill viruses and bacteria, and allowing beneficial bacteria to grow. These together improve the effectiveness of the immune system to fight off foreign invaders in the future.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Key Facts About Influenza (Flu). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
Purushothama V. Dasaraju and Chien Liu. (1996). Chapter 93: Infections of the Respiratory System.
Chervinskaya, A. V. (2007). Halotherapy in controlled salt chamber microclimate for recovering medicine. Balneologia Polska, 2, 133-141.