Flu and the common cold are both seasonal diseases. Their Symptoms might be similar, yet there are also significant differences. The winter months are when the majority of cases of the common cold and influenza, sometimes known as the flu, occur.
Common Cold vs Flu: What is The Difference?
The key distinction between the flu and a cold is that the flu typically has more serious symptoms and potential side effects. Knowing which of these illnesses a person has can be difficult or even impossible because the common cold and the flu have similar symptoms. The flu is often worse than a cold. Cold symptoms develop gradually, but flu symptoms start suddenly and are typically more severe. A cold is more likely to cause a runny or stuffy nose. The following signs, however, are more typical of the flu than of a cold:
A fever is a high temperature of 100°F (37.8°C) or higher that lasts for three to four days. Pains in the muscles, especially in the lower back, chills, weakness or weariness and a migraine. Although diarrhoea and vomiting are not often symptoms of the common cold, both can occur in flu. People might have the flu without showing obvious signs, including a fever. Within a few days after the onset of their symptoms, a person can receive a specialized diagnostic test to determine if they have the flu or a cold.
A cold or the flu can also include symptoms that are comparable to other respiratory infections, such as COVID-19, which is brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Flu typically has more severe symptoms than a simple cold. The most common symptoms of a cold are a runny nose and headaches. The absence of taste is one of the symptoms that sets the two conditions apart.
(With Dr. Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist, and infectious disease specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital Chembur)