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Colds and Flu 


What is a cold?

The common cold is a name given to minor infections in the nose and throat. All of them are very contagious.

What is the flu?

Influenza is a more serious disease caused by viruses that are different from cold viruses.   




You can catch the flu the same way you catch a cold - by breathing in the virus from someone who is sick.

Pneumococcal infection can cause pneumonia and meningitis, which occur more commonly if you get the flu.


  • A yearly vaccination has been found to be 70 - 90 % effective in preventing the flu.  
  • Flu vaccine is made from dead viruses, so no one can get influenza from a flu vaccination. People who are allergic to eggs sometimes react to the vaccine. If you are allergic to eggs you should only have the vaccine if your doctor thinks it is necessary.
  • People at high risk should be vaccinated each year to make sure they are protected for any new viral strains. Those who are at high risk include:
    • any adult or child with chronic lung disease such as asthma, emphysema chronic bronchitis,  bronchiectasis, tuberculosis, or cystic fibrosis;
    • any adult or child with heart disease;
    • any adult or child with chronic kidney disease;
    • any adult or child with diabetes or other chronic metabolic disorder (a disorder of any of the body's chemical processes);
    • anyone over 64 years of age.

View Seasonal flu video


Click here to listen to an interview
with Dr. Anthony D’Urzo

Did you know...

  • People catch colds mainly indoors.
  • Being over-tired, in bad shape, and perhaps getting chilled seem to give viruses a better foothold in our bodies.
  • If you have asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or any other chronic lung illness, you should call your doctor at the beginning of any cold or flu. 
  • When the flu strikes, the lining of the respiratory tract (lungs) becomes swollen. Usually the tissue heals within two weeks, but sometimes it is damaged.





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