Cold or flu? Find out on our blog now

Need some chicken soup?

If you have the sniffles, you may just presume you have a cold…

A common cold will make you feel miserable for a few days. But, with a bit of rest, chicken soup and some medicine to manage the symptoms, you’ll feel better shortly. 

Basically, a cold will run its course with no serious consequences. The flu, however, can be a lot more dangerous. 

Cold or flu

I’m sure you know the general difference between a cold and the flu. But, when it comes to feeling ill, you may get confused between the two.

Both the flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses - but they’re caused by different viruses. Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the two illnesses because they have similar and overlapping symptoms.

Flu is generally worse and has more intense symptoms than the common cold. 

Colds often lead to a runny or stuffy nose. The flu is associated with more serious health problems, such as bacterial infections, pneumonia and even hospitalizations.

Let’s compare the common differences between the symptoms:







Sweats/ Chills



Chest discomfort, cough

Sometimes, mild








Body aches




Wet cough

Dry cough

Sore throat



Stuffy/ runny nose






Symptom onset



How do the seasons play a role in these illnesses

Colds occur anytime of the year, but are more common in winter. Flu season in South Africa is during the winter months. In the last few years, it has begun as early on in the year as April.

How do you avoid cold and flu?

No matter how hard you try, you will be exposed to germs every day. The best way to prevent getting sick is to keep your immune system as strong as possible. Here are a few tips to help you:

1. Improve your gut health

    Studies show how crucial your gut health is for your overall health, including your immune system, mood, skin and weight. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract makes up a large part of your immune system. Make sure you keep it as healthy as possible with the right foods and probiotics. 

    For optimal gut health, take Sfera’s Digest IT capsules. This supplement contains a broad spectrum of vegetarian digestive enzymes that provide digestive support and aid in the absorption of nutrients.

    2. Keep your vitamin levels ups

      Vitamin C & D are extremely important vitamins for a strong immune system. The average person needs 1,000 mg to 5,000 mg vitamin C daily. 
      You can improve your vitamin D levels with sunlight. But, if you’re vitamin D deficient, you’re susceptible to infections. Take a vitamin D supplement to keep your immune system healthy.

      3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

      Make sure you eat a balanced diet of unprocessed, whole foods that contain a lot of nutrients and antioxidants. Here are immune-boosting foods & herbs to include in your diet:
      • Cabbage
      • Peppers
      • Spinach
      • Garlic
      • Coconuts and coconut oil
      • Berries
      • Apples
      • Citrus fruits
      • Herbs, such as oregano, ginger, turmeric, licorice root
      • Ginger tea
      • Chamomile tea
      • Mint tea
      • Lavender tea
      • Medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi and lion’s mane

      > Find out more about Reishi medicinal mushrooms

      > Find out more about Lion’s Mane medicinal mushrooms

      4. Get enough rest

      If you don’t get enough sleep or your quality of sleep is poor, you’re more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. 
      You need quality sleep to keep your immune system strong so that you can avoid getting sick. This was confirmed by a team from the University of Tübingen in Germany. They conducted a study to prove a mechanism linking sleep to the functioning of the immune system. This is due to the fact that a good night's sleep can boost the effectiveness of certain specialised immune cells called T cells.

      5. What if you’re already sick?

      Unfortunately, if you wake up with any of the aforementioned cold or flu symptoms, you’re sick! And, there’s no quick cure for the common cold or the flu. All you can do is ease the symptoms to feel better. Make sure you visit your general practitioner if your congestion lasts for more than 10 days or is accompanied by:

      • High fever
      • A sore throat
      • Trouble breathing
      • Coloured nasal discharge - yellow or green
      • Severe sinus pain

      Also read: 3 ideal supplements for women.