Common Cold vs. the Flu

Topics: Asthma, Common cold, Respiratory system Pages: 3 (1027 words) Published: November 4, 2010
Informative Essay
Word Count: 1,016

Every year many people suffer from the effects of the common cold and seasonal allergies. In the United States alone, there are 1 billion colds per year and 40 million people have seasonal allergies. People who gather in close quarters are most susceptible to the common cold. Seasonal allergies are most commonly reported in schools. Although the symptoms of the common cold and seasonal allergies can be confused it is important to know which symptoms coincide with each illness, the causes of each illness, and how people can treat them.

The common cold is a viral infection that starts in the upper respiratory tract and sometimes spreads to the lower respiratory structures, and may cause infections in the ears. The symptoms of the common cold come in waves. The initial symptoms include a tickle in the throat, a runny nose (clear, thin), and sneezing. Later the nose discharge changes to a yellowish green. A slight fever develops in some people, but typically never goes beyond 102℉. Other symptoms can occur such as coughing, sneezing, nasal congestion, headache, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, hoarseness, watery eyes, tiredness, and a lost appetite.

The symptoms of seasonal allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system. People who have allergies have an immune system that reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment. This substance is called an allergen. The symptoms of seasonal allergies are clear discharge running from the nose, itchy or dry eyes, sneezing, congestion, and a headache. An itchy nose can also be caused by allergies. Some people experience more severe symptoms like hives or difficulty breathing. Even fewer people experience extreme conditions such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and mental confusion, in these cases they are advised to visit the emergency room.

The common cold is caused by several different viruses. More than 200 viruses are linked...
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