People with influenza or cold tend to present with signs of dehydration. Sometimes there could be no signs of water loss from the body of an individual with flu such as running nose, high temperature and sweats but you still expect other internal factors that could influence water loss from the body and subsequent dehydration.
It is important to understand that a slight rise or change in body temperature requires more body fluids for many metabolic reactions and breathing as well.
This is why doctors recommend flu suffers to take more fluids than usual but this becomes a problem as many people with flu problem tend to lose appetite and feel nauseated sometimes.
The extra-fluids you take helps to prevent dehydration as the body tries to overcome inflammatory challenges posed by the influenza virus.
Certainly, you will realise that if you do not take enough fluids when you have flu, you most likely keep weak for a long time and take longer to regain your normal health status.
There is a difference between the flu caused by the common cold and the influenza virus. The common cold is in most cases chronic and poses minor challenges as compared to those caused by the influenza virus.
A cold usually comes on gradually and can be over the course of one or two days. The symptoms of common cold include; generalized fatigue, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose.
You rarely suffer from fever with the cold and this is why it is considered less aggressive because there are no signs of inflammation. To some people colds usually last for few days but can last for weeks or even months.
On the other hand, the influenza comes on suddenly and can hit you hard. You feel weak and tired due to excessive loss of water from the body as well as the inflammatory reactions going on in your body.
With influenza you can record high temperatures up to 40 degrees Centigrade. Some people will suffer from muscles, joints pains or even feel chilled with severe headache.
Sore throat problems are very common especially in children.
People who take antibiotics while suffering with a cold or flu often feel slightly better because antibiotics have a mild anti-inflammatory effect.
But this benefit is far outweighed by the negative impact that antibiotics have on friendly bacteria that live throughout your digestive tract.
In this light, if you really need help with pain management during a cold or flu, it is usually better to take a small dose of anti-inflammatory drugs or pain killers. It is advisable to use over-the-counter pain medications if your discomfort becomes intolerable.
All of these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which your body works to eliminate waste products and help your body get through a cold or flu.
If you take good care of your health and immune system by getting plenty of rest and consistently making health-promoting dietary and lifestyle choices, your cells may stay strong enough to avoid getting infected by viruses that come knocking on their membranes.
In this scenario, you will not have many weak and extraneous cells to require a cold or the flu to work its way through your body that can identify and lyse or destroy them.
Antibiotics are not required. People who take antibiotics while suffering from the cold or flu can feel slightly better because antibiotics have a mild anti-inflammatory effect.
However, this benefit is far outweighed by the negative impact that antibiotics have on friendly bacteria that live throughout your digestive tract.
Dr Joseph Kamugisha is an oncologist at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe