Can You Soup Away Colds and Flu?

Which Is It?

The flu (influenza) and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference without special lab tests.

Flu symptoms can include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Influenza may lead to pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitaliza­tions lasting several weeks. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose that resolves within a week without serious outcomes.

Is it a Cold or Flu?

# Symptoms Influenza Cold
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual
Chest discomfort, cough Common Mild/moderate
Chills Common Slight
Headache Common Rare
Sneezing Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Aches Usual Slight
Fatigue, weakness Usual Sometimes
Fever Usual Rare

Table provided by CDC

The flu is a disease caused by a virus. Secondary infection can alter symptoms. If you are coughing up thick green or yellow phlegm, or if you are wheezing, running a fever higher than 101° F (38.3° C), having night sweats, or coughing up blood, you need to see a doctor immediately. These may be signs of a more serious illness that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

Phlegm Photo

Green Phlegm

Can Soup Cure the Cold or Flu?

Certain vitamins bolster our immune system. The latter fights viruses. Conceivably, with the right ingredients, soup can indirectly be helpful in combatting symptoms. Tomatoes, for example, are rich in vitamin C. Ginger, radish, garlic, onions, and chili peppers either provide immune-strengthening vitamins or break down congestion. So have a spicy bowl of soup while your amazing body heals itself, and watch for symptoms requiring a physician.

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