Difference Between a Cold and The Flu

By: | Updated: Feb-17, 2022
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Differentiating COVID-19 and cold is already hard enough. How about differentiating between a cold and flu? Read this article to know the differences.

Cold Flu
Is caused by rhinoviruses. Is caused by influenza viruses.
Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. Symptoms include high fever, body aches, and fatigue.
Considered as less serious. Considered more serious and might require hospitalization.
No long-term ill effects. Might cause complications.
Typically not contagious. Contagious.
No vaccines required. Vaccines are available every year and recommended to get.
Occurs all year, but mainly during winter. Occurs between October and May.

Difference Between a Cold and The Flu

The common cold and the flu are both respiratory infections, but they are caused by different viruses. The common cold is caused by rhinoviruses, while the flu is caused by influenza viruses.

The symptoms of the common cold and the flu are also different. The common cold typically causes a runny nose, sneezing, and a sore throat. The flu, on the other hand, typically causes a high fever, body aches, and fatigue.

The common cold is also typically less serious than the flu. Most people with the common cold will recover within a week or two. The flu, on the other hand, can be a more serious illness and can lead to hospitalization in some cases.

Cold is treated mainly symptomatically while flu needs more aggressive treatment with antiviral drugs.

For cold, symptomatic treatment with plenty of fluids, rest and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be helpful.

However, for flu, early diagnosis and treatment with antiviral drugs is important for a quicker and more complete recovery.

After recovery, cold leaves no long-term ill effects while flu may cause complications like pneumonia. Generally, people who have had the cold do not experience any long-term health problems, while people who have had the flu may experience some long-term health problems, such as pneumonia.

If not careful, though, a cold can turn into flu. If symptoms worsen or do not improve after a few days, it is important to see a doctor.

People with flu are contagious and can spread the virus to others, while people with cold are not typically contagious. The best way to prevent the common cold is by washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

On the other hand, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccines are available at most pharmacies and doctor’s offices. You can get vaccinated at any time during the flu season, but it is best to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Flu season usually happens every year between October and May, and it is recommended that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot. Cold is usually occurring all year long, although it is more common in winter.

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