The number-three most common cause of the common cold is the influenza virus.
You know influenza viruses are the root cause of influenza, or the flu. Colds and the flu are common infections, especially during the winter months. These infections share many of the same features. Both cold and flu are caused by viruses, and both are highly contagious.
Medical research shows that when cold and influenza viruses are introduced into the nasal cavity by aerosol or by contact with saliva or other respiratory secretions from an infected individual, they attach to and replicate in the nasal epithelial cells. Viral replication combined with the inflammation lead to the destruction and loss of cells lining of the respiratory tract.
Because of these similarities, the terms “flu” and “cold” are often used together. However, there are important differences between these two types of infection. Cold viruses almost never grow outside the upper respiratory tract (nasal cavity) because of their temperature sensitivity, but influenza viruses can grow both in the upper respiratory tract (nasal cavities) and lower respiratory tract (lungs). Symptoms of flu are much severer than those of a cold. Muscle pain and fever rarely accompany a cold, but often do the flu.
Medical doctors can give you a drug to treat the flu, and a flu vaccine is an option for prevention. However, if you start to have symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, you are more likely to have a cold, not the flu, because there is a much higher chance of catching a cold than the flu.
Whenever you have a severe infection, you should seek help from a physician. When the symptoms are minimal at the beginning of the viral infection, you cannot tell the difference between a cold and the flu. At the early stages of the viral infection, even your doctor cannot make a clear diagnosis before a viral test is done.
A newly published clinical study in June 2011 clearly showed that performing nasal irrigation with the NasalCare® Nasal Irrigation Kit can effectively remove influenza viruses, and the patient quickly recovered.
Hence, it is important to start effective nasal irrigation with a pump irrigator right away, no matter whether it is cold or influenza viruses that are starting to infect your nasal cavities.