Colds and flu are seasonal illnesses that afflict nearly every American each year. Here’s what you need to know.
- Adults catch two to three colds a year on average, and children get even more. Colds are the main reason adults miss work and kids miss school.
- You’re more likely to catch a cold in winter because that’s when you spend more time in indoors in confined areas. But the viruses that cause colds are always around, and you can catch a cold during any season.
- Viruses also cause the flu, but it is a more serious illness and often comes with fever, body aches and fatigue. Hospitals see more than 200,000 people each year for complications from the flu.
- People can spread the influenza virus a day before symptoms begin and up to five to seven days after getting sick.
- No vaccine can prevent common colds, and there's no cure. The flu vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by about 50 to 60 percent.