October 2021

Cold and flu season is just around the corner, and although both are respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses.

The common cold is caused by several viruses, such as rhinoviruses, seasonal coronaviruses, and parainfluenza. The National Institute of Health reports that over 200 viruses cause colds each year. Of those viruses, 30-35% are rhinoviruses, making rhinoviruses the leading cause of the common cold. Seasonal coronaviruses are a regular cause of the common cold but these coronaviruses are not the same as that which causes COVID-19. Although the common cold shares similar symptoms to the seasonal flu, the common cold often has more mild effects on the body during illness.

The seasonal flu is caused by influenza viruses and can lead to more serious health concerns like pneumonia or bacterial infections. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D, but influenza A and B are the only two that cause the seasonal flu. Influenza A was responsible for the widely known H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

As these two illnesses share many of the same symptoms, the CDC’s Cold Versus Flu page provides examples to help monitor signs and symptoms of illness this upcoming season. Proper hygiene practices like handwashing, covering coughs, flu vaccines, and environmental surface disinfection combat the spread of cold and flu viruses.

Microchem has a wide array of viruses in-house for technical testing, including human coronavirusesrhinoviruses, and influenza types B. If you are interested in finding out whether your company’s product kills cold and flu viruses, please contact Karen Ramm at [email protected].