What Are the Differences between the Cold and the Flu?

Posted on March 6, 2018 by


Sometimes people struggle to identify whether they have the flu or just a common cold. There are some significant differences between two that people are not aware of.

What is a cold? According to MedicineNet, “The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by many different viruses.” Some symptoms of a common cold are “runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, slight body aches or a mild headache, sneezing, low-grade fever, and generally feeling unwell (malaise).”

The Mayo Clinic said they typically last about a week.

According to MedicineNet, “The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. It is estimated that individuals in the United States suffer an estimated 1 billion colds per year, with approximately 22 million days of school absences recorded annually.”

Some symptoms of the flu are “Body or muscle aches, chills, cough, fever, headache, and a sore throat,” MedlinePlus said.

Something most people associate with the flu is nausea and vomiting; however those are not actually flu symptoms, but are symptoms of gastroenteritis.

“Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasites. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the U.S.  The cause is often a norovirus infection. It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person,” according to MedlinePlus.

According to WebMD, “Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu,’ is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses.”

To prevent both the common cold and flu, it is important to wash your hands and try to stay away from people who are sick. Another way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot.

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