5 Vital Points Showing The Difference Between Cold & Flu


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Coughing, fever, running nose. How do you know if you are suffering from a common cold or flu? People mixed them quite a lot but no wonder, both illnesses make you miserable and many of the symptoms can be overlap. Both are caused by viruses, both are easily spread from person to person.

Most people will catch the common cold during the winter months. The common cold may be treated without needing to see a doctor and is not a serious illness. Most people with cold still can go to work and look after their kids. Meanwhile people with the flu, their not doing anything. True flu knocks you out for a longer and in some cases can lead to some serious complications. You’ re in bed for days and can not move, everything’s hurt.

Whether you’re flattened by flu or  struggling with a cold, you’re best approach is to deal with the symptoms.

The common cold  virus is not the same as the influenza virus. The common cold is the most frequent human illness, which involves sneezing, nasal congestion an discharge, sore throat, cough, low grade fever, headache and malaise. The common cold can be caused by several families or viruses and often comes on gradually, typically starts with a scratchy throat. Colds are usually self-healing.

Meanwhile, the flu is associated with body aches and higher fever. You tend to feel much worse with the flu. One of the biggest differences between a common cold and the flu is how the symptoms first presents. As mentioned before, the flu comes very abruptly while the common cold comes more gradual. With influenza, it hits you very hard, very suddenly,” said Dr. Alan Taege, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic. “You feel like all of a sudden something happened today. You feel achy, you’re tired, and your symptoms are more severe.

Often being confined to bed for several days whereas a cold will usually just make you feel under the weather.  They are both caused by viruses but completely different ones. symptoms of influenza often come faster than the common cold and may be associated with chills, significant headaches and sweats.

More of the flu symptoms are below the neck such as severe muscles aches, fever and terrible fatigue. Both the common cold and the flu can produce coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose and sneezing although these symptoms may be more common with the cold viruses.

Most people will recover from the flu but it can turn dangerous quickly especially for younger children, older adults and people with compromised immune systems. Flu shot is the best protection against the flu, once you’re actually sick, there are prescription medications available that may shorten the length

of the illness and steps you can take prevent the virus from spreading. If you do have a flu, expect to be  incapacitated for a few days. If you have a cold, on the other hand, you may be tempted to out to tough it out at the office. Bad idea- you only spread your sickness, and your colleagues might not appreciate it.

The first step is to know when you actually have the flu, considering colds are also common in this time of year, that can be easier said than done. However, there are several differences between the flu and the cold symptoms. If you or your love ones get sick, here are 5 (five) questions you can ask yourself  to help determine if it is a common cold or the flu.

As mentioned before, one of the biggest differences between a common cold and the flu is how the symptoms first presents.  “Colds, on the other hand, may begin with a runny nose or a case of the sniffles with other symptoms arising days later. The first sign of a cold can appear in a from of a sore throat, which is typically accompanied by a runny nose and slight congestion of a sinuses. You may then develop a cough after a few days, with children more likely to also experience fever. While it is not pleasant to experience symptoms of a Cold, you may still feel as though you’ll fine enough to carry on with normal everyday activities such as going to work.

Another important difference between a common cold and the flu is the presence of fever. The flu is typically accompanied by a high-grade Fever of 102 to 104 degree F. With most Colds you won’t get high fever, Taege said.

Body aches are common with the flu, contributing to what’s described as “hit-by-a-bus” feeling that a virus can bring on while it is rare for aches to accompany colds. As for body aches, headache is common with the Flu but rare with a cold. In general, common cold symptoms are milder than flu and do not result in serious health problems.

Both the flu & the common cold are spread by viruses, contained in water droplets which come out from the nose and mouth when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets may land on surfaces, contaminating them with traces of flu or cold virus.

To prevent and minimize the risk of catching Flu & Cold germs you should do :

  • Avoid close contact with others including, hugging,kissing and holding hands. Colds spread extremely easily, especially when you spend a lot of time in close proximity with other people. This can be particularly relevant if you work in an open plan office or you take public transport to work.
  • Move away from people before sneezing and coughing. Germs that are spread from coughs and sneezes can survive for up to 24 hours which is way taking some simple precautionary measures could do you and those around you a whole lot of good.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap especially before touching your mouth or after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Avoid sharing items such as towels or cups with people who may be infected.
  • If you are in the early stages of a Cold, cough and sneeze into a tissue and throw it away, or cough an sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as toys and doorknobs.


There is no cure for the common cold. To get better, it is important to get plenty of rest, keep yourselves warm and drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. You can also buy over the counter cough or cold medicines or pain relief from your local pharmacy to ease your symptoms and ensure your comfort. To ease your cough you can also drink hot lemon with honey which will give the same effect at soothing your throat as cough medicine. As for the tried and true chicken soup remedy, there  just might be something to it, for both the cold and the flu. Chicken soup has been shown to have anti inflammatory properties and it also temporarily eases nasal congestion.

Similar advice is recommended for the flu. As with the cold, flu symptoms can often be treated from home by having lots of rest and taking medicine such as Paracetamol to lower your temperature. However, if symptoms are severe or you are in a high risk group, including pregnant woman – children under the age of 5- adults age 65 and above- residents of nursing homes, then you have to see and consult your doctor or health care provider.

If you’re sick with the flu, the best to do is staying home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. It is accordingly known that general practitioners won’t recommend you taking antibiotics for flu as contrary to popular belief that they do not speed up your recovery. Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics do not work again infections caused by viruses such as common cold & flu. So there is no point in taking antibiotics to treat a common colds & a flu, and no point asking your doctor to prescribe them for a cold or flu. Your local pharmacist can provide you with any additional advice on flu treatment you needed. If you’re suffering from the flu, you have to take some time to consider on whether or not you need to visit a doctor or can be treated from home.

Watch to complication and consider to call or visit a doctor if the symptoms worsen or do not improve. You could be developing a bacterial infections on top of a viral one which would require an antibiotic. Or you might have another problem such as allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis or pneumonia. Those most vulnerable are children, the elderly and people with chronic conditions.  Also contact a health provider if your throat is so sore that drinking is painful or if you have difficulty urinating.