The cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms such as congestion and headaches and both are infections caused by viruses. The flu is caused by the influenza virus. A vaccine is produced for the most common influenza virus each year. The cold is not as severe while the flu can be life-threatening. It is estimated that 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu and 36,000 die of the flu every year in the U.S.
Distinguishing the signs between these two conditions is an important part of the healing process and can help prevent hospitalizations.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cold Vs. Flu?
One of the largest differences between the cold and flu is the body region in which the symptoms are localized. The head and chest are the affected regions with a cold. Symptoms include congestion, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. During a bout of the flu, the whole body is affected. In addition to the symptoms of a cold, flu presents with chills, muscle aches, fever, and fatigue.
The symptoms of a flu are much more severe than those of a cold and they appear more quickly. Additionally, the duration of a cold is shorter and lasts for a few days while the flu can last for weeks.