Winter has its good points: glistening white snow, the holidays, and evenings relaxing in front of a warm fire. However, one thing no-one enjoys is the coughing, sneezing, aches and pains that go hand in hand with this time of year. In fact, these symptoms are a clear indication that we are approaching the dreaded flu season!
With so many of us affected by these viruses on a year basis, it’s no surprise that millions of dollars worth of research goes into trialling pharmaceutical products to relieve symptoms of colds and flu each year. Many pharmaceutical college graduates go on to find themselves involved in the clinical research, development, and quality assurance testing of cold and flu medicines. Therefore, it is vital that pharmaceutical students are well informed about the facts and myths of flu treatment.
Thinking of enrolling in a pharmaceutical program? Find out what causes the flu and common cold and how they can be treated.
1. Good News, Canadians: Flu Season Isn’t Worse in Colder Countries
Given Canada’s harsh winters, you would probably expect cold and flu rates to be higher than average here, but in truth, Canadians experience approximately the same amount of winter colds as warmer countries like Australia. This is because cold weather itself doesn’t actually cause colds.
Students enrolled in pharma courses learn that colds are caused by viruses that attach themselves to the nose and the throat. They spread faster in the winter as the cold air dries out the nasal passages, while lowering the body’s core temperature weakens our immune systems. The virus is then transmitted through surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards and more. In addition, airborne viruses can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing.
2. Pharma Courses Teach that Fluids and Bed Rest are Effective Treatments
Many people believe that a single medication exists which can cure the common cold. However, graduates of pharmaceutical certification programs know that simply drinking plenty of fluids and getting tons of bed rest is the most effective way to recover from a cold.
Nonetheless, there are certain pharmaceutical products that can help reduce or soothe symptoms. Vitamin C and zinc lozenges can shorten the duration of illnesses in some cases, as can certain prescription antiviral drugs. Experts in pharmaceutical careers know that over-the-counter pain killers can help relieve some of the aches and pains associated with these illnesses.
3. Cough and Cold Medication: Not Suitable for Children Under 6
Health Canada now advises that cough and cold medication is not safe for children under the age of 6 years. While these products often give the impression that they are helping a child get better, they are really only relieving symptoms, rather than curing them. Industry experts know that there is also a small risk of harmful side effects for young children who consume too much of such over-the-counter medications.
4. Pharmaceutical School Grads Know the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu
Most people mistake the common cold for the more serious flu virus, and vice versa. However, pharmaceutical industry experts recognize the difference between the two. While the early signs of the flu are often similar to cold symptoms, there are some differences.
Individuals suffering from the flu tend to have much higher fevers than those with the common cold. Additionally, flu sufferers are more likely to get headaches, body aches and pains, and fatigue. Interestingly, persistent coughing and sneezing is far more common in those who have the common cold than individuals suffering from the flu.
Are you interested in learning more by enrolling in a pharmaceutical school?
Visit AAPS to learn more about our specialized training programs or to speak with an advisor.