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Difference between flu, cold and fever & how it affects a bodybuilder

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Attempting self-diagnose can be very tricky, but sometimes you just have no chance to get to the doctor. Until you eventually do, you must manage your symptoms somehow and at least prevent your health from getting worse. To do this, you have to understand how to differentiate between cold, flu or just fever.

Do I have a cold or the flu?

With so many symptoms in common, it can be quite difficult to tell the difference. Colds and flu are both caused by viruses. The latter one is much worse, however.

Here is what a cold feels like:

  • nose congestion or runny nose
  • watery secretion that can later turn thick and dark
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • mild fever

For the flu, the symptoms are as follows:

  • high fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle soreness (aches that can get severe)
  • cough
  • fatigue

Flu sets in suddenly and may last for one week and beyond. Colds usually finish their cycle in 5-7 days.

What if I’m only experiencing fever?

Fever can be a symptom of many diseases. In the cold season, it often signals a cold and can pass in just one day. Fever means that your body identified a pathogen and is fighting it by raising its temperature. It can be bacteria or maybe a virus. Your own hypothalamus in the brain triggers the fever as a defense reaction; it does not come from the pathogen itself. However, fever can also occur as a result of over stimulating your immune system. This can be done through drug or alcohol use. A heat stroke will also lead to fever. Identify your primary ailment and then proceed with an adequate treatment.

The best cure is prevention

Whether we are talking about cold or flu, it is essential to know and apply the prevention methods. The easiest is to wash hands often, as to get rid of the germs. This is especially important if you frequent venues that are usually crowded – like gyms. When you can’t do that, at least, try not to touch your face since the viruses enter through the mouth, nose and eyes. Improve your immunity and do not abuse products like antibacterial soap or sanitizing gel – these are too harsh and kill the good bacteria too, leaving you more susceptible to catching a virus and being defenseless against it.

What should bodybuilders do?

It’s tempting to think that, although annoying, the illness is not enough to keep you from training. Think about this, though. The body experiences too many stressors when ill, which is why it’s best to even avoid eating. Working out will put a tremendous stress on it. If you’re experiencing high fever, this can alter the fats and protein in your organism; therefore, nutrition will be ineffective. To avoid losing muscle, it’s best to consume nutrient-rich liquid meals, made with healthy and light ingredients, as to not cause a bad reaction (the digestive system might get sensitive during this time).

Note that if you have the cold, for the first three days you are contagious to others. It is worse in the case of flu. Therefore, stay at home and rest – you’re also doing yourself a great service.

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Your fitness pal

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