November 23, 2017
Cold or Flu? Comparing the Symptoms

Cold or Flu? Comparing the Symptoms

by Berkeley Wellness  

Many people wonder, this time of year, if what ails them is a cold or flu. It probably doesn’t matter, since not much can be done about either one, but here’s a guide to some general differences in their symptoms.

Symptom Cold Flu
Fever Rare 101-104° for 3-5 days
Headache Rare Prominent
Aches & pains Mild Usual, often severe, affecting large muscles
Fatigue & weakness Mild Extreme, up to 2-3 weeks
Stuffy nose Usual Sometimes
Nasal congestion & sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Usual Sometimes
Cough/chest discomfort Mild Common, can be severe

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • A cold will usually go away on its own within a week. If after a week, your symptoms are severe or persistent, seek medical advice, especially if you have a chronic condition such as asthma.
  • The flu typically comes on quickly and hard, as opposed to a nagging cold. If fever persists beyond five days, seek medical advice.
  • Both the flu and, more rarely, colds can lead to complications such as bronchitis, sinusitis, or pneumonia.