Is it the flu or just a cold?

It’s cold and flu season, which means classrooms and offices all over Dubai will soon be filled with sick children and adults performing the latest version of the annual cough-sneeze-achoo routine. So how do you keep you and your family safe from the common cold and flu this winter?

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a highly contagious virus. It is normally spread through the coughs and sneezes of someone who has it already. A cold is a milder virus, where you experience a runny nose, scratchy throat, and some sneezing.

Feeling lousy, but not sure if it’s the flu?

People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • A sudden fever
  • Aching body feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry chesty cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty sleeping


For most people, recovery from the flu will need a few days of rest but it could also take up to two weeks. One thing you want to avoid is developing complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, and this can be done by following the doctor’s orders: resting and prioritising your recovery.

The good news? Flu is relatively simply to treat and also prevent. Here are our flu top tips.

Rest & Sleep – When you first come down with the flu, rest is what will help give your body the energy it needs to fight the flu virus and flu symptoms. This is when you should spend lots of time in bed or on the couch. Binge watch Netflix, or just sleep it off: whatever feels most beneficial to you.

Keep warm – Staying warm and resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. This battle taxes the body. So give it a little help by resting. We know that keeping warm in Dubai shouldn’t be an issue with outside temperatures of above 30 degrees, but watch out for AC, keeping it above 24 and staying out of direct line of the air coming from the cooling unit, which can cause chills and stiffness.

Lower your temperature– Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help lower your temperature and treat aches and pains.

Drink plenty of water –  Drinking lots of liquids like water, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages will help prevent dehydration and treat the flu. Don’t underestimate the power of a fresh orange juice vitamin C hit to boost your immune system. And don’t forget tea and broth. Hot liquids help relieve nasal congestion and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.

To prevent germs from spreading check out our recent blog post. Wash your hands, keep sharing to a minimum and make sure you are eating a nutritious diet for maximum energy.

To get immediate and actionable advice, sign up for a Health at Hand account today and speak to a qualified doctor within minutes, Handy, right?