The Difference between
Cold and Flu Symptoms

Fever:
  • Fever is rare with a cold.
  • Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.

    Coughing:

  • 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).

    Aches:

  • Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.
  • Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.

    Stuffy Nose

  • 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:

  • Chills are uncommon with a cold.
  • 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.

    Tiredness:

  • Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.
  • Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.

    Sneezing:

  • Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.
  • Sneezing is not common with the flu.

    Sudden Symptoms:

  • 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.

    Headache:

  • A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.
  • A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.

    Sore Throat:

  • Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.
  • Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.

    Chest Discomfort:

  • Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.
  • Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.