Difference Between Cold and Flu


Main Difference

The main differences that exists between Cold and Flu is the presence of fever, aches, chills, tiredness, coughing, headache, and sneezing.

What is Cold?

Cold is a common infection of the nose and throat. This primarily affects the nose. Coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and fever are apparent symptoms of cold. It usually lasts to seven to ten days. However, some symptoms of cold lasts up to three weeks. Over 200 virus strains are the reason behind cold in which ‘rhinoviruses’ are the most common. Common cold mostly affects the nose than throat, and sinuses and sometimes affects both eyes as well via conjunctivitis. The basic reason behind cold is the resistant response to the infection instead of tissue destruction by the viruses themselves.


Wha is Flu?

Flu is also a common but serious kind of infection of the upper body. It is caused by ‘influenza virus’. It can be range from mild to severe. High fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and feeling fatigue are common symptoms of flu. These symptoms exposed after two days of exposure of virus and mostly last than a week. However, cough may last for over two weeks. There may be nausea and vomiting in children but these are not common in adults. Flu can be occur because of previous bad health such as heart failure or asthma. Flu virus is usually spread through air or if a person touch any surface infected by virus and then touch his mouth or eyes.


Key Differences

  1. Fever is mostly present in flu while in cold it is rare.
  2. Patient feels slightly aches in case of cold and feels usually severe aches in case of flu.
  3. Tiredness level is low in cold and in flu it can range from moderate to severe.
  4. In cold, symptoms appear gradually while in flu they can appear within 3 to 6 hours.
  5. Coughing is hacking and productive in case of cold while in case of flu it is dry and unproductive.
  6. Sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are very common in case of cold while all these are uncommon in case of flu.
  7. Headache is uncommon in cold and very common in flu.
  8. No sign of vomiting or nausea in case of cold while in flu there may be nausea and vomiting in children but these are not common in adults.
  9. Influenza virus is the main virus that cause flu. Rhinoviruses are the main viruses that cause cold.
Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White