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Colds and flu

Overview

Read our overview articles about what causes colds and flu and find prevention and treatment advice as well as expert opinion on handling the symptoms of flu.

What is a cold?

Colds are viral infections of the nose and throat. Colds can go on to involve the sinuses, ears, larynx, trachea and bronchi directly or through secondary effects

Risk factors for a cold

If you're tired or stressed, you could be at increased risk of getting a cold. Learn more about the risk factors.

How are colds diagnosed?

Here's how your doctor will determine if you have a cold or, perhaps, another more serious condition.

What is influenza?

Flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that occurs predominantly in the winter months in South Africa. It's easily confused with the common cold.

Symptoms of the flu

Some of the symptoms of influenza are: high fever with chills, dry cough, sore throat, blocked nose, sweating and shivering, muscle aches and pains.

Who gets the flu?

It's very hard to determine exactly how prevalent the flu is. It is, however, very common over the colder months.

Flu risk factors

Certain groups of people are more susceptible to getting the flu, while others risk developing complications.

How is the flu diagnosed?

The diagnosis of flu is based on the analysis of symptoms by a doctor. Indications are a high temperature, chills, body aches and fatigue.

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Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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