It’s that magical time of year again! Cold and flu season! Aren’t we all so excited to be surrounded by sniffling, coughing, feverish co-workers and kids to eventually succumb to the same ailments? Of course not. And to top it off, women have to deal with light bladder leaks on top of trying to control their leaky nose. But dealing with seasonal sniffles and light bladder leaks is a bit easier than you think – well, as easy as having a cold could be.
So, What is a Cold Anyways?
“Feeling under the weather”, “the sniffles”, “a cough”. We all know what those terms mean – a cold. But what even is a cold? According to the Mayo Clinic, the common cold is defined as, “A viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). Many types of viruses can cause a common cold.” While many kinds of viruses can cause you to feel icky, researchers believe that rhinoviruses are the most common culprit. These viruses enter the body through our mouths, eyes, and/or nose from others that are also sick. People that are contaminated with the virus can spread it through hand-to-hand contact, sharing utensils, coughing, sneezing, or sharing contaminated items. Once you become contaminated and touch your eyes, nose, or mouth you can pretty much bet you’ll get sick.
A cold can stick around anywhere from around a week to 10 days, depending on your immune system and the intensity of symptoms and treatment. According to Healthline, if you have the following symptoms you may have fallen victim to the common cold.
Nasal symptoms include:
- sinus pressure
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
- loss of smell or taste
- watery nasal secretions
- postnasal drip or drainage in the back of your throat
Head symptoms include:
- watery eyes
- sore throat
- swollen lymph nodes
Whole body symptoms include:
- fatigue or general tiredness
- body aches
- low-grade fever
- chest discomfort
- difficulty breathing deeply
If these symptoms persist with no change in severity or if you have a fever above 101.3°F, seek medical attention.
Cold VS Flu
Unfortunately, our bodies are a tricky thing and show similar symptoms for different illnesses, making them harder to treat correctly and efficiently. The silver lining is that researchers have narrowed down and pinpointed the differences between the common cold and it’s much more aggressive and dangerous relative, the flu. Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is also caused by a virus. The CDC describes the flu as, “A contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.” While the common cold and the potentially fatal flu have similar symptoms, there are some key differences to take note of to know whether your cold is actually the flu.
- Flu symptoms come on suddenly while cold symptoms gradually come about.
- Symptoms like body aches, fever, chills, headaches, and chest discomfort are more commonly seen in patients with the flu.
- Symptoms like stuffy nose, sore throat, and sneezing are more commonly seen in those with a cold.
The best way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated and prevent the virus from wreaking havoc on your immune system. If you do happen to get sick, contact your doctor and make sure you’re listening to your body – slow down, rest, and sleep when you need to. A rundown immune system has no chance of fighting off any viruses.
Where SUI Comes into Play
Obviously, no one likes getting sick. But women are more likely to experience a whole other level of discomfort with their colds. Light bladder leaks that are triggered by pressure on the bladder or urinary tract are a symptom of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI occurs because the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder and regulate the flow of urine are weakened or damaged. The leaks can range from a couple of drips to a full-on noticeable spot. The pressure or “stress” that is put on the urinary tract to trigger leaks can be pretty minimal, a giggle, walking down the stairs, bending over, etc. Another trigger? The coughing and sneezing that comes with both a cold and the flu! So, on top of feeling under the weather, you can’t even cough without a drip? Great.
The obvious first solution to not triggering leaks during a cold is to treat the cold! Take medicine every 8 hours (or whenever the dosage instructions say), drink fluids, eat some cough drops, lots of toast and orange juice, and of course, a lot of sleep. All of this advice absolutely comes from generations of mothers caring for stuffy-nosed children, but it does work! Take care of your body when you have a cold – it’s going through a lot. When it comes to light bladder leaks, there are solutions for you to make them more bearable. Pads and pantyliners made for incontinence are meant to absorb urine quickly and discreetly before it ever hits your clothes. Incontinence undergarments are also available and may be a more comfortable option if you take a sick day and spend it at home. These garments are like the pads and liners, but replaces the undergarment entirely, instead of being placed on an existing garment. Reusable devices like Revive® prevent leaks by supporting the bladder internally.
This new device for women suffering from SUI is a one-size-fits-most device made of soft, flexible silicone for all-day comfort. Revive® is designed to move and fit in the woman’s anatomy for up to 12 hours a day once inserted. The support is inserted with the provided applicator like a tampon and removed with the replaceable retrieval strings. Once the device is removed, simply clean and store for up to 31 uses! Find Revive in the feminine hygiene aisle at your local retailer!