The Difference Between Cold and Flu?

It can be hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu. This is because a cold and the flu have so much in common it may at times be tough to tell them apart. Both are brought on by viruses that infect your airways. They have some of the very same symptoms which could leave you feeling unhappy.

But it’s important to know the difference between a cold and the flu, because the flu is so much worse than a cold.

So here are the differences between the symptoms of a cold and the symptoms of the flu.
For a cold, your symptoms will be like these:

For the flu, your symptoms can include:

  • dry, hacking cough
  • moderate to high fever, although not everyone with the flu will run a fever
  • sore throat
  • shaking chills
  • severe muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • stuffy and runny nose
  • severe fatigue that may last up to two weeks
  • nausea and vomiting (most common in children)

Other Ways of Telling the Difference Between Cold and Flu

Other than the symptoms, here are some ways to tell whether you have the cold or the flu. You can get a cold anytime, including spring, summer, or fall, but probably in winter.

Flu season typically runs from November through March, even though you can get it in October or as late as May. You can grab the flu at other times of the year. But symptoms outside of flu season are far more likely to be from a cold or an allergy.

Also, the flu tends to be considerably worse than a cold. The flu, especially in children and older individuals, is more likely to cause serious health problems like pneumonia and a hospital stay.

Rarely, symptoms might be inadequate for your doctor to know whether it is a cold or the flu. If you’re not sure, you should do a test to learn what you have.