Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.
A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.
Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.