Do you know the difference between a
Flu and a Cold?
There are important differences between what people call the flu and regular colds. The flu is short for influenza, which is a respiratory infection that occurs at this time of the year, nearly every year from roughly October through May. That’s why they call it flu season!
Sometimes, people refer to almost any ailment as the flu (for instance, the “stomach flu” is almost never an actual flu). However, in this context we are being specific about the illness caused by the family of influenza viruses.
A cold (in contrast to the flu) can be caused by many different types of viruses. The condition is usually harmless (albeit annoying). Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and congestion. High fever or severe symptoms are reasons to see a doctor, especially in children. Most people recover on their own within two weeks. Over-the-counter products and home remedies can help control symptoms, but since there are hundreds of viruses we call “cold” viruses, there is no “cure for the common cold.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the Flu is primarily a community-based infection, transmitted in households and communal settings. Every year, 5% to 20% of U.S. residents acquire an influenza virus infection, and many will seek medical care in healthcare settings (e.g., pediatricians’ offices, urgent-care clinics). In addition, more than 200,000 persons, on average, are hospitalized each year with influenza related complications. Influenza infections can occur in any setting and are most common when influenza is circulating in a community or in a crowded environment (such as air travel and other public transportation, shopping malls, sporting events, etc.).
Approximately 20 pathogens account for the overwhelming number of contagious respiratory infections. These are either bacteria or viruses, which range in size from 0.08 to 1.1 microns. Spores and fungi are about 10 times larger. HEPA filters used in domestic heaters and coolers and overhead airline cabins trap particles larger than 0.3 microns, but take time to perform their filtration tasks.
Viruses are the smallest infectious particles, which are the agents that transmit the common cold and flues. Viruses cannot survive for long outside a living host, and when free in the air they are usually quickly inactivated by ultraviolet sunlight, changes in moisture and a host of other environmental changes (Mischerlich, E and F H Martha, microbial survival in the environment . Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1984). They are transmitted from person-to-person, attached to aerosolized droplets which an infected person expels when coughing, sneezing, laughing or talking. Each one of these droplets may carry many thousands of viral particles. These droplets vary in size from 1 to 5 microns and when expelled by a carrier person, they can travel a distance from 3 to 7 feet and remain infectious for several minutes before becoming inactivated by the environment. (Fugu id J. P. “The size and duration of air carriage of respiratory droplets and droplet nuclei” Journal of Hygiene 54 ,1945:471-479).
Clearly, protection from inhaling these aerosolized viral particles should help mitigate contracting these illnesses. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta has provided guidelines to protect the public such as frequent hand washing to protect hand mouth transmission from contaminated surfaces and avoidance of environments that are very crowded. Surgical masks are counterproductive for healthy people but recommended for ill people to protect those around them. Special protection is recommended for individuals with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease or malignancies (CDC-guidelines for isolation precautions: Preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings- droplet precautions. PDF October , 2007 )
After many years of research guided by published data on this subject, we have designed and created a nasal filter—Nose Budz™ —that stops these particles from entering your lungs through the nose. Since 92 to 94% of breathing is done through the nose, this effectively eliminates the most accessible and common vector for the diseases these particles cause.
This nasal HEPA filter sits in a soft cone that fits conveniently and discretely in your nose, and is only engaged during inhalation and is bypassed when exhaling. The filter stops all the aerosolized particles that carry these illnesses. As a welcome ancillary benefit, because allergens are even larger than bacteria and viruses, Nose Budz™ can also help alleviate symptoms for those with allergies to pollens, molds, and other atmospheric contaminants.
Nose Budz™ is designed to stop particles the size of the offending droplets (1 micron or larger) while maintaining sufficient airflow to allow normal breathing. It is worn discreetly and comfortably for up to 12 hours.