The Difference between Cold and Flu

September 28, 2012 | by DoctorSolve

Have a stuffy nose?
A sore throat?
Sneezing a lot?
Most people dismiss anything ‘under the weather as having a cold that will go away in just a few days. A few bowls of hot soup will make everything better, right?

Well, not always. In fact, there are plenty of cases where symptoms persist for days, even weeks, and only get worse. Those people did not have a common cold, but actually the Influenza virus, more commonly known as the flu.

The two have similar symptoms so it is easy to mistake one for the other. However, while colds are nothing serious, the flu is responsible for a lot of deaths each year. Knowing the difference can help you protect the ones around you.

How to Tell the Difference: Cold vs Flu

The best way to tell the difference between a cold and the flu is to know the symptoms.
It is very rare to have a fever when you have a cold.

On the other hand, a high fever that lasts for several days is common with the flu.

A sore throat, sneezing and a stuffy nose are typical cold symptoms, but they do not occur that often in people with the flu.

The influenza virus can affect the whole body. It’s most dangerous to children, but adults are not completely safe from complications. The virus leads to frequent headaches and other kinds of aches and pains. While these symptoms are also associated with colds, they are quite rare.

The flu has an exhausting effect on the body. People with the flu suffer from extreme weakness and fatigue. They feel drained of energy as soon as the symptoms start to show. This can last for weeks at a time.

This level of tiredness is almost never found in people with colds. If it is present, it is only a mild condition that usually doesn’t prevent people from doing their daily routines.

Coughing is a quick-and-dirty way to tell if you have a cold or the flu. While this symptom is present in both illnesses, colds often yield a moderate, productive cough. On the other hand, the flu often presents a severe cough that is usually dry and unproductive.

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