Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and more likely to break. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is common in older women. As many as half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Risk factors include

  • Getting older
  • Being small and thin
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Being a white or Asian woman
  • Having osteopenia, which is low bone mass

Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You might not know you have it until you break a bone. A bone mineral density test is the best way to check your bone health. To keep bones strong, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise and do not smoke. If needed, medicines can also help.

source: nlm.nih .gov

How can I tell if I have a cold or the flu?

Although the common cold and the flu share many similar symptoms, they are two different conditions.
The symptoms of a cold develop slowly and can include:
  • Fever up to 102 degrees
  • Runny or stuffy nose (often with green or yellow-colored discharge)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Watery eyes

Cold symptoms are generally more mild than flu symptoms.

Flu symptoms usually appear very suddenly and can include:
  • Fever over 102 degrees
  • Stuffy nose
  • Nausea
  • Chills and sweats
  • Fatigue and muscle aches, especially in your back, arms and legs
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

What causes colds and the flu?

Viruses cause the common cold and the flu. Over 200 different viruses can cause colds. There are not as many viruses that cause the flu. That's why there's a shot for the flu and not for colds.

What can I do to feel better?

There's no cure for the common cold. All you can do to feel better is treat your symptoms while your body fights off the virus (see the box below).

For the flu, your doctor will probably recommend that you treat the symptoms until you feel better. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine. Antiviral medicines can shorten the length of time you are sick with the flu. These medicines come as pills or as an inhaler. The inhaled type may cause problems for some people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Ways to treat your cold and flu symptoms

  • Get plenty of rest, especially while you have a fever.
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke, which can make cold symptoms worse.
  • Drink lots of fluids like water and clear soups. Fluids help loosen mucus. Fluids are also important because they help prevent dehydration.
  • Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve a sore throat. Throat sprays or lozenges may also help relieve the pain.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Use saline (salt water) nose drops to help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose.

What over-the-counter medicine can I take for a cold or the flu?

No over-the-counter medicine can cure a cold or the flu. Medicine can, however, help relieve some of your cold or flu symptoms. Check with your doctor before giving any medicine to children or read our handout on colds and the flu in children.

Many cold/flu products are available without a prescription. See the box below for a guide to the common ingredients in these products.

What's in over-the-counter cold/flu medicines?

The ingredients listed below are found in many cold/flu medicines. Read labels carefully. If you have questions, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Analgesics relieve aches and pains and reduce fever. Examples include acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen. Warning: Children and teenagers shouldn't be given aspirin because it can cause Reye's Syndrome.
  • Antitussives tells your brain to stop coughing. Don't take an antitussive if you're coughing up mucus.
  • Expectorants help thin mucus so it can be coughed up more easily.
  • Oral decongestants shrink the nasal passages and reduce congestion.

Should I call my doctor?

In most cases, you don't need to see your doctor when you have a cold or the flu. However, if you have any of the symptoms in the box below, call your doctor.

Emergency Cold/Flu Symptoms:

In children:
  • High (above 103 degrees) fever, or a fever that lasts for more than 3 days
  • Symptoms that last for more than 10 days
  • Trouble breathing, fast breathing or wheezing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Earache or drainage from the ear
  • Changes in mental state (such as not waking up, irritability or seizures)
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but return with a fever and a worse cough
  • Worsening of chronic medical condition (such as diabetes or heart disease)

In adults:
  • A high, prolonged fever (above 102 degrees)
  • Symptoms that last for more than 10 days or get worse instead of better
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Severe pain in your face or forehead
  • Hoarseness, sore throat or a cough that won't go away after 10 days

Can I prevent catching a cold or the flu?

You can reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu by washing your hands frequently, which stops the spread of germs. Eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep also play a part in preventing colds and the flu because they help boost your immune system.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get the influenza vaccine each fall (in October or November), before the flu season begins. The vaccine is available by shot or by nasal spray. The vaccines work by exposing your immune system to the flu virus. Your body will build up antibodies to the virus to protect you from getting the flu. The flu shot contains dead viruses. The nasal-spray vaccine contains live but weakened viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal-spray vaccine.

Some people who get the vaccine will still get the flu, but they will usually get a milder case than people who aren't vaccinated. The vaccine is especially recommended for people who are more likely to get really sick from flu-related complications.

If you are sick, make sure that you cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands often to prevent giving your cold or flu to others.

source: family doctor .org